Tag Archive | "Zen From Mars"

Stephen Shareaux And Drew Fortier To Record Acoustic Live Album

Stephen Shareaux And Drew Fortier To Record Acoustic Live Album

Kik Tracee singer Stephen Shareaux is joining forces with Bang Tango guitarist and Zen From Mars bandmate Drew Fortier for an acoustic live album. The special event will take place on Friday August 24th at Black Circle Brewing Co. in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Fortier offered up a few details on the show: “We will be recording a live acoustic album that evening with a set spanning Stephen’s whole career. We will be playing Kik Tracee songs, Stephen’s solo material as well as songs from our forthcoming Zen From Mars album. There might even be a surprise or two during the set as well. The live album will be produced, engineered, and mixed by Joe Haze.”

The following day, Saturday, August 25, Shareaux and Fortier will be appearing as guests at the Nashville Rock N Pod Expo at the Nashville Palace in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Tickets for the event are currently in sale at www.rocknpod.eventbrite.com.

Fortier is currently working on his second documentary film, ‘Thanks. And Sorry: The Chuck Mosley Movie.’ His first documentary, ‘Attack of Life: The Bang Tango Movie,’ is available to view at this location! 

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Reunited FLIPP Recruit Guitarist Drew Fortier As Second Guitarist

Reunited FLIPP Recruit Guitarist Drew Fortier As Second Guitarist

FLIPP frontman Brynn Arens and new FLIPP guitarist Drew Fortier. (Photo credit: Tharasa DiMeo)

The reunited U.S. rock group FLIPP have recruited musician/filmmaker/actor Drew Fortier (ZEN FROM MARS, BANG TANGO, CHUCK MOSLEY) as their second guitarist.

Says FLIPP in a statement: “We are so very happy to have Drew Fortier as a member of the band. We can’t wait for future shows and we’re going to have fun trying to find the right stage name for him. For the moment, we’re calling him “Drew Badly”; because he’s not a bad guitar player… he’s just drawn that way.”

Fortier added: “I am so excited to become a member of such a legendary and criminally underrated band. I have been a big fan of theirs since I was a kid, and with all the fun and zany theatrics, it’s like performing with my favorite cartoon comic book superheroes! It so much fun!”

Fortier made his live debut with the band at the annual Barn Party in Stillwater, Minnesota this past weekend.

The rest of the lineup includes: singer/guitarist Brynn Arens, bassist Cherry Forever, and drummer Kilo Bale; all of whom are founding members of FLIPP.

Future shows are currently in the works.

FLIPP frontman Brynn Arens

FLIPP is a Minneapolis-based rock band formed in 1994,known for their penchant for elaborate stunts and theatricsincluding, but not limited to: dropping hundreds of pounds of cereal onto rock festival audiences, initiating mass scale feather pillow fights with crowds, and surprise pop up shows on the back of flatbed trucks in the middle of busy downtown metropolitan areas; the band is also remembered for itscartoonish stage costumes, clown make-up, and bizarre onstage behavior; culminating in a style of music which has been described as CHEAP TRICK meets THE SEX PISTOLS.

The band experienced success in the 90’s with the almost accidental popularity of their homemade music video for their sludgy cover of THE WHO’s MY GENERATION; which received regular airplay on MTV’s 120 Minutes and proceeded to secure the band a record deal and subsequent support slots fora wide range of artists such as WHITE ZOMBIE, CHEAP TRICK, BUSH, OASIS, EVANESCENCE, GREEN DAY, and EVERCLEAR, to name a few.
While under management by Bill Aucoin (KISS, BILLY IDOL), the band were close to a radio hit with their single “Freak”, from their Art Alexakis (EVERCLEAR) co-produced album “Volume”; the song landed at #38 on Billboard, as well as #1 in 8 different cities. In an unsuspected turn, their record label at the time, Artemis Records, had been in litigation and went under before a final push for the singlewas to be had, which resulted in the eventual dissolution of the band.
FLIPP have since been reunited and reactivated as of 2016.

The band’s newest member, Drew Fortier, is a musician, songwriter, filmmaker, and actor best known as guitarist for BANG TANGO, the late Chuck Mosley (FAITH NO MORE), and ZEN FROM MARS; which he cofounded, and also includes members Stephen Shareaux (KIK TRACEE), Chip Z’Nuff (ENUFF Z’NUFF), Mike Heller (FEAR FACTORY,MALIGNANCY, RAVEN), Brynn Arens (FLIPP), and Kate Catalina (SPARKLE PARTY). Fortier has also directed and edited the documentaries “Attack of Life: The Bang Tango Movie” as well as the upcoming “Thanks. And Sorry: The Chuck Mosley Movie”. He will also be making his acting debut in the upcoming Comedy Horror film “Her Name Was Christa”.

FLIPP front man Brynn Arens and guitarist Drew Fortier are also both in ZEN FROM MARS, for which their debut album, “The Ultra Head Frequency”, is currently being mixed and mastered by Richard Easterling (AMERICAN HEADCHARGE, MUSE) for a fall 2018 release.

Follow FLIPP on their official Facebook page: Facebook.com/flippofficial

Check out the official Facebook page for Rocksteady Records at www.facebook.com/RocksteadyrecordsMN/

Check out FLIPP’S music video for their single “Clone Me” from their 2002 release “Volume” below:

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‘Attack of Life’ Filmmaker Drew Fortier Launches New Production Company

‘Attack of Life’ Filmmaker Drew Fortier Launches New Production Company

Very few people are having as productive a year as Drew Fortier. Fortier first exploded onto the scene with as the filmmaker who brought ‘Attack of Life: The Bango Tango Movie’ to the masses. He would go on to play rhythm guitar with Bang Tango and launch a supergroup known as Zen From Mars, who are currently finishing up work on their debut album.

Drew Fortier

It was announced in late summer of 2017 that Fortier had joined the cast of director James L. Edward’s upcoming film, ‘Her Name Was Christa,’ which is currently in pre-production.

Hot on the heels of all of these developments comes news that this multi-faceted artist has launched Drew Fortier Productions.

Fortier had this to say about the new venture: “For all the years that I have been shooting and editing promo videos, music videos, documentaries, etc. I have only done it for close friends and friends of friends. Now, I have taken the next step and am providing my services publicly.”

You can check out the official Facebook page for Drew Fortier Productions at this location >

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Drew Fortier (Bang Tango, Zen From Mars) Joins The Cast of ‘Her Name Was Christa,’ Hits The Road With Chuck Mosley On New Tour

Drew Fortier (Bang Tango, Zen From Mars) Joins The Cast of ‘Her Name Was Christa,’ Hits The Road With Chuck Mosley On New Tour

Guitarist Drew Fortier (Bang Tango, Zen From Mars) will soon adding acting to his growing list of credits in 2017. Best known for his work behind the camera as the filmmaker who brought ‘Attack of Life: The Bango Tango Movie’ to the masses, it was recently announced Fortier has joined the cast of director James L. Edward’s upcoming film, ‘Her Name Was Christa,’ which is currently in pre-production.

Drew Fortier

In the film, Fortier is set to play “Nick,” who’s described as “an obnoxious yet loveable co-worker of the lead character who convinces him to voyage into the world of love for sale with terrifying results.”

2017 is shaping up to be a banner year for Fortier as ZEN FROM MARS’ debut album is currently in the mixing stages and is tentatively set for a 2017 release. ZEN FROM MARS (ZFM) was announced last year and features vocalist Stephen Shareaux (Kik Tracee), drummer Mike Heller (Fear Factory, Malignancy), the legendary Chip Z’Nuff (Enuff Z’Nuff) on bass and backing vocals, guitarists Brynn Arens (Flipp) and Drew Fortier (Bang Tango), and Kate Catalina (The Showgirl of Rock) on keyboards.

Currently, Drew Fortier is traveling the land with rock icon, Chuck Mosley of Faith No More on his “Reintroduce Yourself 2017 Tour.” Mosley, who has been hard at work prepping a solo record will be debuting the new material on the nationwide tour. Check out the dates below and visit Mosley’s official Facebook page for updates!

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Kik Tracee Announce ‘Big Western Sky’ B-Sides, Demos and Rarities Collection For July Release

Kik Tracee Announce ‘Big Western Sky’ B-Sides, Demos and Rarities Collection For July Release

Disbanded 90’s LA HARD ROCKERS KIK TRACEE have announced the release of BIG WESTERN SKY, a collection of B-SIDES, DEMOS, and RARITIES being released 7-17 via THC MUSIC/EMP LABEL GROUP/AMPED. BIG WESTERN SKY features early demos and rarities from the bands classic NO RULES/FIELD TRIP era, prior to disbanding in the early 90s.

Vocalist Stephen Shareaux will do a run of acoustic dates in early April, accompanied by guitarist Drew Fortier, who plays with Shareaux in All-Star troupe Zen from Mars, which also features Chip Z’nuff, with members of FLIPP and Fear Factory. This will mark one of the first live performances of KIK TRACEE material by Shareaux in over 20 years. The dates start in Chicago on April 5th, with additional dates in Green Bay, Minneapolis, and a performance at the Grand Opening of Megadeth’s David Elelfson’s ELLEFSON COFFEE CO in Jackson, MN.

Dates are as follows:
4/5 Live Wire – Chicago, IL
4/6 Rock N Roll Land – Green Bay, WI
4/7-4/9 Ellefson Coffee Co – Jackson, MN
4/10 Aster Cafe – Minneapolis, MN

Says singer Stephen Shareaux, “After all these years. Why a Kik Tracee release now? The timing just felt right. We’ve been sitting on these songs for what, 25 years now? Kinda pulled them out recently, and listened to the stuff, and thought.. You know.. Let’s package this stuff and put it out there for the diehard fans to relive the glory days, if you will. Or just get their Kik Tracee on, man.”

“As for how it all came about, myself I have been working with Drew Fortier on Zen from Mars, or ZFM, and we had been working with Thom Hazaert from EMP.. THC and EMP had been involved in the ZFM release, and in doing that, Thom said, “hey man.. do you guys have any Kik Tracee stuff? Leftover B-Sides, demos, curiosities..” And I was like well yeah, we have tons of stuff.. Demos, B-Sides. Live shows. Etc.. And he was like, “Dude, let’s put it out.” And that’s pretty much how this whole thing came about. So thank Thom Hazaert. Or blame him. Whatever.”

KIK TRACEE formed in LA in 1988 by guitarists Greg Hex and Michael Marquis, bassist Rob Grad, and drummer Scott Donnell (who was later replaced by Johnny Douglas) eventually recruiting Minnesota transplant Stephen Shareaux to be the band’s vocalist. The band signed to RCA/BMG and recorded their Dana Strum (Slaughter) produced debut NO RULES, that quickly became a fan favorite, (with the band being prominently featured in the Rock Press, and finding some success with their singles “Don’t Need Rules” and “You’re So Strange” which landed just outside of the Billboard Top 40 (and NO RULES landed at #46 on Rolling Stone’s “Best Hair Metal Albums of All Time”).

The band veered left for their follow up, 1992’s FIELD TRIP EP, produced by “Godfather of Desert Rock” Masters of Reality’s Chris Goss, who would go on to produce influential records for KYUSS and QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE. Field Trip showed the band moving in a direction away from the LA Hard Rock of its predecessor, and into the more eclectic alternative direction the band had originally intended for NO RULES.

After recording their second full length, the unreleased CENTER OF A TENSION, with producer Garth “GGGGarth” Richardson (Rage Against the Machine, Mudvayne) Kik Tracee disbanded in 1993, with Shareaux becoming a contender for not only the vacant vocal spot in Motley Crue, eventually filled by John Corabi, but a frontrunner for the vocalist position in VELVET REVOLVER, as documented in the documentary “The Rise of Velvet Revolver”.

Sheareaux released his first solo LP GOLDEN independently in 2013, and is in the final stages of recording the debut LP from Zen From Mars.

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DON’T NEED RULES: Stephen Shareaux and Drew Fortier To Embark On Acoustic Tour

DON’T NEED RULES: Stephen Shareaux and Drew Fortier To Embark On Acoustic Tour

Rock music fans take note! Vocalist Stephen Shareaux (Kik Tracee, Zen From Mars) and Drew Fortier (Bango Tango, Zen From Mars) are hitting the road for an acoustic mini-tour. The tour will feature Shareaux performing Kik Tracee songs live for the first time in 25 years in addition to the live debut of songs from the duo’s highly anticipated new project Zen From Mars.

The tour kick off on April 5th in Chicago, Illinois at LiveWire Lounge Chicago and then take them to Rock n’ Roll Land in Green Bay, WI on April 6th. From there, the duo will make the trek to Jackson, MN from April 7th – April 9th to perform at Ellefson Coffee Co.’s Grand Opening weekend. David Ellefson will be in attendance along with comedian Don Jamieson and Adam Albright from Dopesick. Also performing will be Zen From Mars guitarist and Flipp frontman Brynn Arens. The acoustic tour will be capped off on April 10th with a closing show at The Aster Cafe in Minneapolis, MN with Chris Mochinski.

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Drew Fortier to discuss the upcoming dates, the latest from Zen From Mars and what he has been taking away from his time with some notable rock ‘n’ roll lifers!

Stephen Shareaux and yourself will be hitting the road for an acoustic mini-tour in early April. It seems you guys are shaking the rust off and gearing up for a big year ahead. Is this a safe assumption to make?

I would definitely say that is indeed a very safe assumption! It’s going to be a lot of fun to crawl out of “hermit mode” for these gigs. We’ve been working and massaging the ZFM songs so much and it’s going to be great to finally get to show some of them off!

What can we expect from these upcoming shows?

Oh the shows will certainly be a blast! We will be digging up, pulling out, and dusting off some Kik Tracee tunes for the shows. The cool thing is that the KT songs haven’t been heard live in 25 years. Kik Tracee are probably one of, if not the only band from that era to have never reunited in some way shape or form which adds a really cool mystique to the whole thing. Aside from the KT tunes we will be showing off a lot of the Zen From Mars songs for the first time and can’t wait for people’s feedback!

Drew Fortier

You will have a bit of a residency on this mini-tour at Dave Ellefson’s Ellefson Coffee Co., which will be celebrating it’s grand opening. I have to ask — Have you had a chance to sample any of the product at this point? Any recommendations? Will they be keeping Stephen and yourself properly caffeinated at these gigs? 

Oh absolutely! Roast in Peace is absolutely incredible and has to be my favorite. There’s really something for every coffee drinker, I would say check them all out! There’s also “She-Wolf”, “Kenya Thrash”, as well as “Urban Legend”! Mr. Ellefson has such an amazing thing going with his coffee business and it keeps on getting bigger and bigger. Needless to say, Stephen and I will surely be blitzed on some Kik ass coffee! See what I did there? [laughs]

What can you tell us about the experience of putting the set lists together? Was it challenging to break these songs down into a raw acoustic form be it the Kik Tracee or Zen From Mars stuff?

It was a lot of fun arranging the Kik Tracee songs for acoustic! It’s so great how well those songs stand the test of time and still sound fresh today. Great songs truly are timeless! The cool thing with the ZFM tunes is that they were all born as acoustic demos, even the super heavy ones! I was just at Stephen’s house for a week in gorgeous Ojai, CA and we rehearsed everything. We may even perform the whole ZFM record live acoustically, you never know! There will be a few surprises as well that will certainly make Mr. Ellefson smile! Also our ZFM bandmate and Flipp frontman Brynn Arens will be performing with us as well, it’s going to be a blast!

I’m sure some songs are easy to nail down than others. What came easy and what were the biggest challenges?

The easiest ones were definitely the ZFM tunes because of us being so familiar with them for the past year and a half. I’d say the biggest challenge was arranging a version of Kik Tracee’s “Don’t Need Rules.” There are so many great guitar parts in that song and to keep them in tact I worked? out an arrangement where I do the rhythm parts as well as lead guitar parts during the choruses, it came out really cool and you can hear it in that version we performed that’s up on Facebook!


You have been working with Stephen Shareaux for quite a bit now with the Zen From Mars project. What has he brought out in your creatively?

Stephen is without a doubt my musical soulmate. We definitely bring a lot of amazing stuff out of each other. He’s so great at knowing how to capture the perfect vibe lyrically and melodically for every piece of music we work on together. It all starts with him and I and then everyone else adds their parts and ideas. Brynn, Mike, Chip and Kate each bring something incredible to the table for each song. We are all super excited to finish the record, get it out there, and start doing shows. The band is an absolute beast sonically and visually. But me and Stephen going out and performing these songs is the perfect way to show off these tunes in their most purest form and when people hear the record it’s going to be like “Woah! I definitely did not expect that!”

Stephen Shareaux’s voice sounds as solid as ever. As a guytar player and fan of his work, you know better than anyone about his capability and range. What song from rock and roll’s rich history would you most like to hear him lend his voice to?

That’s a great question! One thing I love to do is take Stephen out of his wheelhouse and hear how he approaches the heavier ZFM tunes which he does incredibly. With that said I’d be stoked to hear him interpret any Megadeth song or even some Nine Inch Nails.

What has been happening in the Zen From Mars camp? No pressure!

[laughs] Things are going great! We have just been fine tuning everything to a “T” and are making sure these songs are as great as they can be. Mike, our drummer, has played such a huge part as being our quality control manager. His creative input has taken these songs so very far in the right direction. It’s gonna be good!

Recently, you have been working closely with Thom Hazaert and have been helping him out with Megadeth bassist David Ellefson’s record label EMP (Ellefson Music Productions). I’m sure these guys a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the business. What are some of the lessons you have learned from these guys that have applied to your work?

One thing I definitely learned was that nice guys don’t always have to finish last! Thom and Dave are both some of the most kindest and talented people I have ever met and it has truly brought the best out in me. I have learned so much from Thom about how everything works vs. how everything should work. It’s really about keeping on top of everything and consistency truly is key especially when running a record label. It’s like a well oiled machine and every day is a small victory. I love learning from these gentleman and I look forward to what the future has to offer with this incredible label. It’s definitely only the beginning!

You always seem to have a few irons in the fire, which is awesome. Anything else on the horizon that has you excited? 

There’s definitely a few things that I can’t bring up at the moment that will be made public very soon that has me insanely excited! You will definitely know when it happens! Aside from that, I’ve poured my heart and soul into this ZFM record. Much like how I poured my heart and soul into the Bang Tango Movie. I am incredibly proud of what myself, Stephen, Mike, Brynn, Chip and Kate have created with each other. We are all very excited about this band and album!

Check out the video for Zen From Mar‘s debut single, “New Leaf,” at this location – Click here! Connect with the band on social media via their official Facebook page.

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BACK IN TIME: Chip Z’Nuff On Raiding The Vault For Enuff Z’Nuff’s ‘Clowns Lounge‘

BACK IN TIME: Chip Z’Nuff On Raiding The Vault For Enuff Z’Nuff’s ‘Clowns Lounge‘


Enuff Z’Nuff landed on people’s radar in the summer of 1989 with the release of the band’s self-titled debut album. Their first single, “New Thing,” tore up the radio airwaves and solidified itself in rotation on MTV. In response to its national and international success, the band followed up “New Thing” in 1990 with the release of the bittersweet rock ballad “Fly High Michelle.” The song elevated the band to gold status and in 1991 had Rolling Stone magazine naming Enuff Z’nuff as “one of the more exciting and gifted bands on the scene today.” In the decades to follow, the band created 20 albums, garnered legions of loyal fans and earned the respect and acclaim of peers and contemporaries.

In 2016, the band has gone back to the vault to unearth amazing unreleased material. “Clowns Lounge” is a collection of rarities and early demos that were reworked and re-recorded by the band and was released December 2 via Frontiers Music Srl. The songs are as powerful as the music in their catalog. The exceptional collection, penned by Donnie Vie and Chip Z’Nuff, also features a guest appearance from the late Jani Lane as well as an appearance from James Young of Styx. Serving as the glitter-rock record fans have clamored for, “Clowns Lounge” showcases Enuff Z’Nuff as they were in their creative peak as they continue to rock today! With every album and live performance packed to the brim with rock/pop perfection, there are no signs of the band slowing down.

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Chip Z’Nuff to discuss the making of Enuff Z’Nuff’s new album, “Clowns Lounge,” the challenges he faced in bringing it to life and what else is lurking in his music vault. He also offers an update on his highly anticipated autobiography, Enuff Z’Nuff’s plans for 2017 and more!

You created an impressive body of work. What turned you on to music and set your life in music in motion?

Listening to my mother and father’s record collection had a big impact on me. They had a huge record collection with everything from Black Sabbath to Jefferson Airplane to Sly and The Family Stone to Queen. My family was very diversified when it came to music. We also used to have some great programs like “Midnight Special” and Don Kirschner’s “Rock Concert” where you could see bands like Alice Cooper. That had a huge impact on me in the very beginning and I think that’s what really tripped my trigger and got me into writing songs. At the time, I was playing sports but I became more excited about writing a song. It was more challenging than throwing a curveball, I guess! [laughs] Listening to those bands from the past really stuck with me and left an indelible mark. I really enjoyed a lot of the English music and found it challenging. It was stuff like The Who, Mott The Hoople, Sweet, Queen, Led Zeppelin and David Bowie. I always love the bands that had images outside of the music. It was hard to put a face to the music until you see what they look like. Those are the bands that left a mark on me and Donnie Vie as well. We’re both struck by that English stuff. We love the early Squeeze stuff. I think those bands were a very important part of our early fabric when we were putting together Enuff Z’nuff. When it started offer us, we were a pretty lucky band because when we came out the other bands at the time were Poison, Motley Crue and Guns N’ Roses. We weren’t really listening to that stuff. Even though they were great bands, we were more living in the past. I think inspiration for us came from us finding a common ground of writing songs where we found our own style. If you show me a band without influences, I’ll show you a band that hasn’t written one note and doesn’t have a record deal! [laughs] We had some great influences and I think we got lucky in finding our own niche and not listening to our contemporaries. Coincidently, a lot of those bands that I mentioned I would go on to work with. I worked with Steven Adler from Guns N’ Roses and the guys from Journey. I got a chance to make records and recordings in the studio and play shows with Cheap Trick and Smashing Pumpkins. I think those were all contributing factors to our sound.

You stepped into the lead role in Enuff Z’nuff a few years back. Looking back, what was the biggest challenge for you in making that transition?

Right there, you just said it! I never wanted this fucking job singing in a band. I love the company of my brother. I feel that my bro will go down as one of the greatest singers of our generation. When I go around the country and run into guys like Steven Tyler, the guys in Cheap Trick, Foo Fighters or Green Day, they all have nothing but wonderful things to say about us and are very kind. They love the band. For me to get in the front fare and have to sing the songs is a challenge in itself. I feel that I co-wrote the songs with my brother and I know the songs well. You look at bands like Journey, Styx, Foreigner, Stone Temple Pilots and a bunch of others out there, they go to different ponds to find a different singer to take over. My template was that I looked at all the bands that were out there then I couldn’t think of one band where the singer left and one of the guys in the band took over, except for Genesis. When Peter Gabriel left the band Phil Collins took over. That is the template I chose to take and I found some great musicians to help me out. I’ve got Tony Fennell from Ultravox, who was the singer who took Midge Ure’s place years ago. I got him to come in, play guitar and sing background vocals with us. I went out and got Tory Stoffregen, my old guitar player, who also has a band called The New Black 7. He’s a great singer. I also got Daniel Hill to play drums. I was lucky enough to find great guys who believed in the vision and believed in the legacy that Enuff Z’nuff has left. I think I put together a really strong band and the fans have spoken loudly and seem to like it. I pick a lot of stuff from the earlier records that were commercially successful for us and I’m focusing on that. Once I see how things go, I will listen to what the fans have to say and lay it on to the set list to mix in stuff from the other 17 albums we have recorded. Right now, I have just been focusing on the first three records to be honest with you. It’s been a lot of fun! The shows have been strong! We just got off tour with KISS on the KISS Kruise. It was great! Doc McGhee and the guys in KISS were out in the crowd, along with the guys from King’s X, Skid Row and all these different bands that we grew up. The all came up to me and were very complimentary, especially Doc McGhee. He came up to me and said, “Why weren’t you doing this 10 years ago?” So, I have been pleasantly surprised and flattered that people have accepted us as the band is right now. I have dedicated my life to this band and to this music. Obviously, I have worked with other groups but I’ve never given up on Enuff Z’nuff. I’ve never taken any time off except to tour with Adler’s Appetite or Missing Persons. For the most part, my whole life has been dedicated to Enuff Z’nuff.

Enuff Z'Nuff's 'Clowns Lounge'

Enuff Z’Nuff’s ‘Clowns Lounge’

You have a new album out. What got the ball rolling on “Clown’s Lounge?”

It all came back to the same guy who discovered the band back in 1989, Derek Shulman (Gentle Giant). He used to have an imprint called Polygram Records. He signed Cinderella and Bon Jovi. He did so well with those bands that Atlantic Records gave him his own imprint, Atco Records. Our first record came out on Atco. It had the hits “New Thing” and “Fly High Michelle.” Twenty-seven years later, I get a telephone call at my house in Blue Island, which is also a recording studio. He says, “I want to do another Enuff Z’Nuff record. I know Donnie’s not touring with you guys right now but I would love to have him on the record. Do you have any material with Donnie singing along with you?” I said, “I might have some stuff. Let me see what I’ve got.” I went through the catalog and I have a plethora of material sitting at home. I have a whole catalog of stuff that remains unreleased. I went through and pulled out three songs and sent them to Frontiers Records. They loved it and said, “Let’s do a record!” That’s how it started. It’s really a miracle for us. We didn’t expect to be on another major label at this point in our career. I’m just totally shocked. I’m surprised that out of nowhere the same guy who discovered the band came back years later wanting another record. I gave him a 12 song record called “Clown’s Lounge.” I think it is chock full of strong songs. It’s a great rock record. A glitter-rock record actually! It has pop-overtones and shows the best elements of Enuff Z’Nuff. Donnie’s voice sounds terrific. It really shows the band as it was then. It’s an archival record. It shows the original band as it was then and as we are today.

What were the biggest challenges you faced on bringing “Clown’s Lounge” to life?

Trying to make a record that sounded modern was a big challenge. Listen, a lot of bands put records out and they say it’s a brand-new record but the songs were written 10 or 20 years ago. It’s no exception here with us. There were songs that we had that just slipped through the cracks. We were so prolific back in the old days, not to sound immodest. Donnie and I would write tons! That is all we did! As much as we had warts, scars and tattoos from hard partying in those early days, we came up with some really strong songs. So, the biggest challenge for me was to make the record sound modern and today. I had some great musicians/producers to help work on the record. I got Chris Shepard, who has done some great stuff with Smashing Pumpkins, Flaming Lips and Elvis Costello. I also went to Chris Steinmetz over at Stonecutter Studios in Chicago. He has worked with Styx and Ozzy Osbourne. These guys were able to help me put the record together so it sounded sonically like an album from today. We certainly weren’t trying to sound like anyone else. I wanted a strong, hard Enuff Z’nuff album but I wanted to make sure that sonically it was a record that that we were capable of reproducing live. I think I nailed it! It’s a strong record that shows the best elements of Enuff Z’Nuff and the die-hard Enuff Z’Nuff fans will be pleasantly surprised when they hear this record. For the new fans, who don’t know much about us will hopefully hear it and say, “OK, maybe this is something I can sink my teeth into.” I’m proud of it. We made this record for ourselves and we are very grateful that we got the opportunity to do this one more time!

You also have material on this record from James Young of Styx and the late Jani Lane (Warrant). How did that material come about?

I grew up with Styx, obviously, being a Chicago band. I got to be really good friends with JY, who I still consider not only a great musician but a class act. He played on the “Paraphernalia” record, which I think was our eighth album that we put out back in 1997. We had Billy Corgan, along with JY and Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick on that record. We really develop the great relationship from those early days. When JY went out to do his solo record, he asked if he could do a couple of Enuff Z’Nuff songs and we gave him permission. I thought that was very kind of him to want to record some of their songs. He loved our sensibility. We also worked in those early days playing gigs with Warrant. Jani Lane always seemed to love Enuff Z’Nuff’s music and the pop side of the band. When the opportunity arose to have Jani come down and sing on a song, I jumped at it! He obviously took a different approach to it. He didn’t want to sound like Warrant. He said, “I want to sing it like David Bowie.” I said, “Go right ahead. Sing it anyway you want to!” You can tell it’s Jani Lane as he has his own timber. The guy was a great singer and songwriter. Having those two together I think really help to elevate the record. It’s not necessarily an Enuff Z’Nuff track because Donnie’s not on that song. However, Johnny Monaco, who used to front the band, is on the track singing. I think it shows the best elements of what Enuff Z’Nuff is about which is pop songs played aggressively. JY, as soon as he plugs his guitar in, you know right away who it is! He’s the balls of Styx! It was a nice overtone on the record. When I played it for the label, I think they were surprised and they didn’t think I would give them a song like that. It really elevates the perception of the band having guys from Styx and Warrant playing with us. It’s also special to the fans of Styx and Warrant, who get to hear Jani on one of the last recorded tracks he did before he passed away.

What is your relationship with Donnie Vie? From what I read, he seemed pleased with this record and what you created together.

Listen, I love my brother. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be in this position right now. That’s both good and bad both. I love him dearly and I always look at the good in things. I view the glass half-full as opposed to half-empty. I don’t speak with him much but when we did the record he liked the energy of the record. That’s what he told me and he seems to be happy. Obviously, we would both like to do a fresh, brand-new album but right now he is taking care of his medical conditions and getting better. Maybe he will do another solo record but he’s not ready to come back into the fold right now. I think he’s happy that I’m fronting. I’m going out there and playing shows. As long as I keep sending mailbox money, he will be smiling!

Enuff Z'Nuff

Enuff Z’Nuff

You mentioned going back to the vault to bring these songs to the fans. What else do you have hiding out in there?

Bro, I’ve got so much material but, on this record, I wanted to make sure I had the best recordings. All of the stuff that you hear on this record was recorded on 2-inch tape; analog recordings. Nowadays, it would cost $80,000 to $100,000 to record a record like that. There wasn’t much Pro-Tooling on this record. It’s a real, live record with very minimal overdubs. I probably have another four to five albums in the vault right now. However, I’m not so sure recording-wise that it is up to snuff when it comes to what Donnie and I want to put out. We want to make sure that the records we put out there are as strong as anything you hear on the radio sonically. I may have another album in the can of 2-inch stuff; solid analog recordings. After that, the rest of it is all demo stuff. It’s all quality as all the songs are strong. I have a two-album deal with Frontiers. I think the next album will be a mixture of some of the classic stuff that we have and the rest will be new material.

I’m sure you learned a lot from each project. What lessons did you learn this time around?

What it took away from this experience was that it’s nice to have the band in the same room playing together. That’s the best way to make a record. That’s how these songs were recorded; we were all together at the same time we are making this record. It’s a special thing. Nowadays, you can just send tapes back and forth. You can have guys play a part of a song and have them send it back to you and put it all together but I prefer to be in the room with each other when we are being creative. Those early Enuff Z’Nuff albums came from us being together all the time. We were tracking at the same time and that’s why those records were so special. To any band out there, if you guys want to make a record the right way, hit the same room together and hash out the parts to make a quality record.

What are the best and worst parts of being a working artist these days in the ever-changing music industry?

The best parts of it, if you’re lucky enough and blessed enough to make a record, are the plethora of opportunities that open up. Nowadays it seems like there’s plenty of product but not enough demand. If you can come up with a nice 11 or 12 song record, the opportunities that come along with it are unimaginable; there’s everything from movies, soundtracks, TV shows and commercials. By branding your song well, you can constantly stay out there working. The worst part about it is that you have to leave your family and friends behind because it is a big sacrifice. If you’re not after a 24 hours a day, find another business. Rick Nielsen said it best to me. He said, “Chip, we’re not all built to do this but the ones that are have to take advantage of it and do it all the time.” I have dedicated and sacrificed my life to this and this is what I’m going to do with the rest of my life. I’m going to make records and go out and tour. Hopefully, with good health, you can have a long run. I’m looking at musicians like the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and Cheap Trick. God only knows how long these guys have. How long can you rock? Until you are 70 or 80 years old? It gets tiring because it’s a very difficult job. Luck is when preparation meets opportunity, so take advantage of it now. Get out there! Play! Tour! The opportunities that will fall in front of you will outweigh the grief.

Last time we spoke you were working on an autobiography. What’s the status of that project?

I have finished the book. I had some great people working with me. I had Jodee Blanco, who’s had a few books that were New York Times best sellers, working with me. I also had James Reardon, who wrote “Break On Through” about The Doors, along with me. He also worked with Oliver Stone on “The Doors” movie. Right now, we are just trying to find a deal for a publisher, otherwise we will put it out ourselves. I think the book is a great story of, without sounding immodest, Enuff Z’Nuff showing all the warts and scars of what we went through. It’s not sugarcoated at all. Every single thing went into the book. It focuses on the beginnings of our career where we played clubs and opened for Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Cheap Trick, playing for no money at all, to us signing a major album deal with Atco/Atlantic Records and having a half million dollars thrown in our face. It also has the trials and tribulations of going on tour with Badlands. It has all the meetings and stuff that broke the band like Howard Stern, David Letterman and everything in between. I turn the pages on everything. I’m free to show myself in an unfavorable light. It’s a real book that shows a real rock band that started from nothing, worked their way up, got a break and had some success.

Chip Z'nuff on stage at the M3 Festival - Photo by Dave Steckart

Chip Z’nuff on stage at the M3 Rock Festival – Photo by Dave Steckart

You are never one to slow down. Where are you headed next?

The record came out on December, 2, 2016. We just shot the video for the first single, “Dog On The Bone.” Starting on January 17, 2017, we start our tour with Ace Frehley from KISS. We go out for a month-and-a-half to two months with him. Then we are going to jump on a European tour and then we will do the Rock Never Stops tour. I can’t tell you who the band is going to be but it’s going to be big! To be honest, we are booked up until September of next year. We are pushing this album full-time, playing in front of every single audience out there and not missing any nook or cranny! We are playing clubs, theaters and some sheds! [laughs] We are really focusing on this album and showing what the band can do live! We are taking it to the streets, bro! Just like they used to do! That’s the only way to do it nowadays! If you sit home and wait, nothing is going to happen! You have to get out there and work!

Earlier in 2016, I caught up with Drew Fortier to discuss a new project you are a part of called Zen From Mars. What’s happening with that band?

That’s a pretty great band! You’ve got guys from Flipp, Bang Tango, Kik Tracee and Fear Factory! It’s a miniature all-star band and all of these guys can sing, play and write! The record is almost finished. The singer from Kik Tracee (Stephen Shareaux) was auditioning for Stone Temple Pilots but we are finishing the record and it will come out next year! It’s a great 10 or 11 song record. I don’t know much more about it and I don’t want to get anybody’s expectations up except for the fact that the record will be out next year. As far as touring goes, that’s up to the record company and what they want to do. I’m definitely interested in going out and playing!

What’s the best lesson we can take from your journey as an artist?

The best lesson you can take from me is that if you want it, you have to work hard for it. You have to work on it 24/7. Listen to all the styles of music that you love, pick out what you enjoy doing and focus your attention on that. Also, try to stay away from the drugs.

Thanks for your time today, Chip! I wish you continued success!

I appreciate it, brother. I appreciate the love and respect because without people like you and the fans out there, I am just another guy playing music at his house! Happy holidays and I will see you out there next year on the road! Bring your peace signs and paisleys!

Get the latest news and tour dates for Enuff Z’Nuff at the band’s official website, www.enuffznuff.com. ‘Clowns Lounge’ is available now via Frontiers Records. Pick it up on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify or Google Play.

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