Urban interviewed Mad Margritt's Eddie Smith...
U- The title of your new CD may be "New Sensation" but Mad Margritt has been around the block for a while now. Can you tell us a little bit about your background history, and when you were formed originally.
ES- The band was formed back in the early 90ís down in Miami, Florida. We came out right in the middle of all that Seattle ďgrungeĒ crap so people really didnít know what to make of us at first. At that point in time, none of the record labels wanted anything to do with a bunch of long haired rock & rollers. In 1997 we decided to start our own record label and released a 5 song EP called COLD SWEAT. The cd actually sold really well for an independent release. About a year after the release of COLD SWEAT, Delinquent Records out of Alabama offered us a record deal. We released our first full-length cd on Delinquent entitled IN THE NAME OF ROCK in May, 1999 . Being signed to a record label really opened up a lot of doors for us. We started working with a bunch of different booking agents and spent the next 2 Ĺ years touring across the country opening up for bands like Skid Row, Ratt, Cinderella, Warrant, and Quiet Riot to name a few. When we started working on our next cd we found out that Delinquent Records was going out of business.
Fortunately for us we had just performed at a music conference in Las Vegas, Nevada and met Tom Mathers, head of Perris Records. We had worked with Tom in the past (he did distribution for the COLD SWEAT ep) but this was the first time that he had ever seen the band live. Tom was impressed enough to offer us a deal to release our next cd on Perris Records. We were really excited to be working with Perris. Theyíve worked with everyone from Warrant, LA Guns, Pretty Boy Floyd, Every Mothers NightmareÖ.we knew that we were definitely in good hands!! In June, 2002 Perris featured us on the AC/DC Tribute cd BON APPETITE: A TRIBUTE TO THE BON SCOTT YEARS OF AC/DC. It was really cool to be featured on a cd that paid homage to one of my favorite bands. The cd also features performances by Derek St. Holmes (Ted Nugent), Jason McMaster (Dangerous Toys), Tommy Paris (Britny Fox), and Rick Ruhl (Every Mothers Nightmare)!! This past November we released our latest cd NEW SENSATION. We are currently gearing up for another year or two on the road. After spending most of the summer in the studio working on NEW SENSATION, itís definitely time to hit the road again and have some fun!!!
U- Are you pleased with the outcome of "New Sensation"?
ES- Definitely, we had a blast making this cd!! You have to realize, bands like Aerosmith and Motley Crue have a lot of money to spend when they go into the studio. They can hire big name producers and engineers to make their recordings sound larger than life . We had a very small budget to work with, but our goal was to make a cd that could stand up to what the bigger bands were putting out . All things considered, I think we did a pretty damn good job!!
U- While listening to your CD I noticed it's a bit on the short side(!?). With 2 covers & 1 instrumental track, leaves only 6 original written tunes here. Your opinion about this?
ES- Again, it really came down to our budget. We have a ton of songs ready to record but it got to the point that we just couldnít afford to spend anymore time or money in the studio. We decided to go with quality over quantity.
U- Any favorite tracks from the album you could name? And maybe you could tell us the 'story' behind these songs.
ES- I really like the opening track, "NOTHING CAN KEEP ME AWAY". That was probably the quickest song I have ever written. I was on the road and had just hung up with my girl. She was really down because we hadnít seen each other in a while because of the tour. I started writing down some lyrics and 10 minutes later I had a finished song. Thatís definitely a record for me!! When it came time to record it we had Derek St. Holmes (Ted Nugent singer) come out and sing back-up vocals. I grew up listening to Stranglehold and Snakeskin Cowboy and here was the guy who sang all those songs singing one of my songs! It was one a the greatest nights of my life!! Another song I really like is "CANíT GET OVER YOU". I like how it starts out with acoustic guitar and vocals and just keeps building and building. By the end of the song itís got so much power and intensity, definitely one of my favorite songs to play live.
U- One of the songs you cover here is The Babys old "Midnight Rendezvous". How come you decided to record this particular song?
ES- Up to this point we had never put a cover song on one of our cdís. I think itís really cool when a band takes an old song and puts their own little stamp on it. Iíve always been a big fan of The Babys, so one day we started messing around with MIDNIGHT RENDEZVOUS. We started adding a bunch of cool parts that werenít on the original version. We completely changed the end of the song and gave it kind of a T-Rex feel.
U- The other song you cover is the classic AC/DC rocker "TNT". Why do you think they are still such a popular band after almost 30 years in the biz? It's the same basic 3-chords as always and Hey! I'm a fan!
ES- TNT is actually the song we recorded for the AC/DC tribute cd (BON APPETITE). We had no intention of putting it on NEW SENSATION but people really seemed to like how it came out so we ended up adding it at the last minute. I donít really think it matters if their songs are just 3 or 4 chords. They play with so much energy that you canít help getting pumped up when you hear one of their songs. Itís just good old fashion rock & roll!! Theyíll probably be around for another 30 years!!!
U- On a scale from 1 to 5 (where 5 is a lot). How much Poison influences do you guys think "Nothing Can Keep Me Away" have? And is this a fair question to ask?
ES- Itís definitely a fair question. We get compared to Poison a lot. I personally donít hear too much of Poison in NOTHING CAN KEEP ME AWAY, but Iíve been told by a lot of people that itís a little Poison sounding so what do I know? I guess because we grew up listening to bands like Poison thereís gonna be a certain element that shows up in our music. Let me put it this way, I would rather have you say we sound like Poison than The Foo Fighters or Sugar Ray. If people said that we sounded like that Iíd probably have to retire from music!!
U- If we're talking influences and old rock heroes. Which bands/artists or albums would you name?
ES- Skid Row, Cinderella, Poison, Motley Crue. I also like a lot of 70ís stuff. Ted Nugent and Kiss were big influences when I first started.
U- Reviewers always like to label bands under this or that music style. With your own words, How would you describe the music of Mad Margritt?
ES- We call it old school rock with a modern edge. Even though we have the quote ď80ísĒ sound, I think we take a very fresh approach to it. You look at a band like Buck Cherry. Even though you could tell they were influenced by bands like Guns & Roses and The Black Crows, they still sound fresh. Modern rock radio played the hell out of them. I hope thatís what weíve accomplished with NEW SENSATION. We took our love of 80ís rock and took a very modern approach to recording it.
As much as I love Dokken, we didnít use a lot of the Gorge Lynch type power chords with all the effects on the guitar. We purposely shied away from the big 80ís drum sound, the processed vocals. We recorded it all very raw and only added effects if the song called for it. I think the worst thing a band can do is to sell out and try to change who they are to get a hit. You look at bands like Bon Jovi and Aerosmith, they still have their signature sound but because of the way they approach the recording process they donít sound dated.
U- What's your opinion about the hardrock scene in USA today?
ES- Itís getting a lot better. I think people are sick and tired of all that rap rock crap thatís out there. The whole Creed thing is defiantly getting played out. People are ready to have fun again! The only problem weíre facing right now is that when bands like Motley Crue or Poison come to town, people are looking at it kind of like a nostalgia thing. I think if hard rock is truly gonna make a come back itís gonna take some fresh blood. If a few of the newer hard rock bands out there could get on the charts it would energize the whole scene. Maybe we should do what they did in Airheads and take over MTV. Force them to play rock and roll again at gunpoint !
U- OK! The big question the everybody wants to know the answer of. Who the heck is Margritt anyway and why so good darn Mad?
ES- Margritt is what we nicknamed our drummer Danny. Wouldnít you be mad if your name was Margritt?
U- What the heck is up with this "win a trip with Danny Belli to Jamaica", that I hear about? Isn't this some kind of punishment for the winner :-) Does She (the winner) have to hang with Danny all of the time :-) [read the official press release about this trip at the bottom of this interview]
ES- Of course, you didnít think the trip was free did you? I hope who ever wins this thing has an open mind because Danny can get a little wild!! Every spring Danny goes down to the nude beaches of Jamaica for a week. We thought it would be really cool this year to take a Mad Margritt fan down there with him to enjoy the party! What weíre doing is having people write to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org and explain why they should be the one to be chosen. Who ever has the most creative letter will be the winner.
U- If there's anything you'd like to say, add, or promote. Please do:
by: Urban "Wally" WallstrŲm,
Mad Margritt in conjunction with Perris Records, is giving away an 8 day 7 night stay night at Hedonism II and Negril, Jamaica!! Here's the catch: You will be accompanied by Mad Margritt's drummer Danny Belli !! Email the band and tell us why you should be the one to go. The person with the most creative letter will be the winner!! Recent photos are a plus! Indecent photos are a double plus!!!
DISCLAIMER: Perris Records and Mad Margritt are not and will not be responsible for any property damage, bodily injury or other harm that may be sustained by winner as a result of travel or stay in Jamaica, eating or drinking too much, having too much fun, laughing too hard at Danny's jokes, keeping or getting Danny out of trouble, Danny's 24-hour drinking, seeing Danny naked, and/or Danny's sexual advances (you didn't think you were getting this trip for "free," did you?). WINNER'S RESPONSIBILITIES: Winner must agree to have a good time, get naked, make sure that Danny boards the correct plane back to the U.S. and make sure that Danny has no illegal "souvenirs" in his bags! RESTRICTIONS: Must be 18 years or older and female. Sorry Dudes :(