Interview With Johnny Gioeli At The Summer Of Sonic 2012

He’s a man who may be the busiest person on earth, currently singing in three active bands, occasionally doing side projects, as well as running his own business, being a pilot, and playing piano, drums and guitar. We’re talking about Johnny Gioeli here. Johnny has been in a massive amount of bands, including Brunette, Phaze, Crush 40, Hardline, Killerhit and Accomplice. In this interview, we (from JunSenoue.com; Andrew, Benji, Martin and Kjeld) focussed on some really hardcore questions, which have never been publicly answered before.

JS.com: Jiz Rivets and Phaze, can you elaborate?

Johnny: WHAT?

JS.com: Phaze and Jiz Rivets

Johnny: Ahh, that’s okay, I was like “whoa, what is that?”. Really want me to? How did you know that, about that?

JS.com: We stalk you.

Johnny: (laughs) So, Jiz Rivets was a group that my brother and I formed after trying to put Hardline together several times, and we just couldn’t. Basically we just gave up, because we couldn’t get that same feeling, until now. It was a punk kind of alternative, it would have been so phenomenal, it was Linkin Park on steroids. Amazing songs, do you have any of these?

JS.com: No, they never ever got leaked.

Johnny: Yeah they’re actually in-, they never got leaked huh… I know where they are, I could get them. It’s un-freaking-believable stuff. It doesn’t even sounds like me, there’s a lot of distortion. *sings distorted* Crazy, heavy shit. Way before any of these guys, Breaking Benjamin, Five Finger Death Punch, all these, you know, RED, were doing this, we did it way back then. It’s such a shame – I gotta go faster don’t I? It’s such a shame, because we went into the studio, and Steve Lukather of all people, from Toto, wanted to produce this, because he was so always in that Toto-box *sings a bit of Toto’s Rosanna*. And he’d just, you know, this freaking rocked, so we got into the studio, but he and the engineer had a big fight, not a fist fight, but a big fight, and the whole thing fell apart. And at the time, you know, you’d have to feed your family, and we just moved on, we abandoned it. To this day -aren’t you glad you asked this question?- to this day, my brother and I always kick ourselves in the ass and we say “Why did we stop?”. It was wild, my brother had funky coloured hair and shit, mine was like blond. It’s crazy, yeah. Anyway, that was Jiz Rivets.

JS.com: Cool! You’re working on the next Hardline album, will you be more involved with writing the lyrics this time?

Johnny: I quit actually yesterday. No uhh, yes, I will be. I didn’t have a lot of time on this last one, but I made a lot of modifications. I didn’t get any credit, but I actually made a lot of changes here and there.

But I have to, you know, the original person who starts the whole creator process on it, that person needs to get the credit, and I’m all about that. I didn’t start it, they need to get the credit.

That’s enough questions, I’m exhausted! (laughs)

JS.com: When “Leaving The End Open” was known as “Just Add Water”, there were a lot of tentative titles such as “My Heart”, “Hold On”, “Save Me”, “Falling Rain”, “Looking At The World” and “I Surrender”. What happened to these songs, or were they renamed as new songs for “Leaving The End Open”?

Johnny: Jesus man, that’s a damn good question ‘cause I can’t remember what I had for breakfast. So, ehh, can I look at those names?

JS.com: Yeah *hands notepad to Johnny*

Johnny: I remember “Just Add Water” had nothing to do with a song, it was the fact that it came together so quickly. In America we have these cake mixes that are all powder, and all you have to do is add water, stir it, put it in the oven and it’s done. So that was the whole brain job behind that, but…

JS.com: “My Heart”, “Hold On”, “Save Me”, “Falling Rain”

Johnny: “Hold On” was a song *sings a bit of “Hold On”*, “Save Me” was a song, it is a song, I shouldn’t say ‘was’, it is a song, I just didn’t release it. “Falling Rain”, no clue.

JS.com: “Looking At The World”?

Johnny: No clue.

JS.com: “I Surrender” and “What If”?

Johnny: “What If” is a song, and “I Surrender” – I probably had a very bad day.

JS.com: How did your songs end up in “Rapid Fire” (1992 Brandon Lee movie)?

Johnny: What happened there was, Brandon Lee, rest his soul, had became a Hardline fan. He heard the record, and said “I want this group on my first movie”. So they approached us, and we went and did the private screening at Paramount, it was very cool, just the band, and we watched the movie and they had already cut the songs in the movie. And at that point fellows, I don’t know if you know what that means, but we were negotiating the price of these song, but those songs were already in that movie. So as you can imagine my house was really nice.

JS.com: (laughs)

Johnny: Anyway, no I’m just kidding about that, but yes that’s how that happened, Brandon Lee was actually a fan of Hardline. It was cool. I would’ve liked to have done “The Crow” (1994 Brandon Lee movie), that would’ve been cool too. Except he didn’t like us too much after that. (Brandon Lee sadly passed away during the recording of “The Crow” due to an unfortunate incident)

JS.com: Was that something you could have done, “The Crow”?

Johnny: You know, our management was s-

JS.com: Was shit?

Johnny: They should have pursued that immediately, but they dropped the ball.

JS.com: Ah okay… Ehh, how did you end up in Voices Of Rock?

Johnny: I have no idea. No, that is Michael Voss, we’d call him “Vossy”. I toured with him, Mad Max.

*Johnny is handed the Voices Of Rock MMVII booklet*

Johnny: Yeah, this is with Vossy, right? Yeah, he’s another great guy. I toured with him with Axel Rudi Pell, and he supports Axel Rudi Pell, Michael does, in the group called Mad Max. And we were touring together one time and he said “I got this project called ‘Voices Of Rock’, and I really want your voice in it”. Wow, I didn’t realise he has me in the center! That’s cool!

JS.com: Did you negotiate that?

Johnny: (laughs) Probably. No, I do a lot of stuff for free, and this is one of them, and umm, yeah that’s all. So I knew Michael and he asked me to do it, and I heard the song and went “yeah, that’s perfect”.

JS.com: It is a great song, real catchy.

Johnny: Thanks, thank you, yeah. They play it actually on, ehh, do you have SiriusXM out here? What kind of satellite radio stuff, do you have satellite radio out here?

JS.com: No not really, seems to be just local stuff.

Johnny: Really? Fuck man. Nobody listens to the radio or internet radio, that shit is all satellite radio now in America. So you have Octane, which is all the Breaking Benjamin, Red kind of Five Finger Discoun- (slip of the tongue) Five Finger Death Punch. And you have Hair Nation, which is all the 80s 90s bands.

Jun: Hair nation? (laughs)

Johnny: Yup, and one more that I can’t think of. It’s just that genre of music, it’s a shame you don’t have it.

JS.com: What was your initial reaction when you were asked to do music for a video game?

Johnny: Uhh, I didn’t know what to think honestly, in the early stages. I didn’t understand it a hundred percent, until I got to know Jun more. I was never a video guy, ever. Even in my day when it was Pong *ping, pong*, I just never did this stuff, you know. I was playing music since I was eleven years old, and so if I wasn’t playing music I was probably just riding my bike or something, you know, I was getting outside. So I didn’t know, I didn’t get it at first, and then it caught on rather quickly.

JS.com: This is from a friend of ours in Chile actually, she wanted to know what is your voice range, and how do you take care of your voice?

Johnny: I smoke, do lots of drugs, and-

JS.com: I should warn you, she’s seen your vocal endurance video, so…

Johnny: That’s horrible. What the hell was that? So I do a 100% opposite of what I’m doing now to take care of my voice, I don’t talk a lot, believe it or not, when there’s multiple shows. There’s a lot of techniques, a lot of things you have to do, you have to be very hydrated, you have to drink water. I drink so much water man, you wouldn’t believe it.

JS.com: We were gonna bring a six pack of water for you as a gift.

Johnny: I’m telling you man, oh thank you, I’m pounding and pounding, pounding, I mean, I’m pissing three times a night when I’m on tour. So you have to stay hydrated, I can already tell ya I’m not hydrated enough, I can feel my voice buzzing a little. And eh, you can’t smoke, drink, and all the things that are drying, the dryness will destroy your voice. As far as my range, you know you’re range kind of changes, the voice is controlled by your body, it really is. So if I’m really tense, in here, my range will be lower. The more looser I am, the more relaxed I am, the range can go up high. I’ve never tested my range, I think a high C? But I’m not sure.

JS.com: Alright, we were gonna ask about Johnny and Joey Law.

Johnny: (has just taken a mouth-full of salad) Fucker!

JS.com: (laughs)

Johnny: You know what, my son has a collection of my picks, and he has a pink Brunette Johnny Law pick.

JS.com: Wow, that’s cool.

Johnny: That’s a collector. Yeah, actually, I’ll tell you a funny story about that. So, back in the day in the 80s, it was cool to have a stage name. So we needed stage names, and don’t ask me how we came up with the Law brothers, but Johnny and Joey Law. And it was Gene Simmons of Kiss, of course you know who he is, who thought that those were the best names in rock and roll. Isn’t that cool? Yeah, ‘cause he was gonna sign us, and he said “no those are the best names in rock and roll”. So funny, so when my parents or my relatives would come to the show, their passes had “Law” on it.

JS.com: (laughs)

Johnny: So thanks for that you guys, full of surprises.

JS.com: I don’t really know, maybe we can drop off after that, I suppose.

Johnny: Anything else you wanna know?

JS.com: There was one that I wanted to know, you’ve made quite a lot of references that the original line-up of Hardline: when you started your second album it was gonna be massively different to Double Eclipse. What I wanted to know was, how different was it, and is it anything like ‘II’ now?

Johnny: Alright, you’ll have to run that by me again.

JS.com: So, in another interview, you said that when it was still Neal Schon etc…, you were gonna start on the second Hardline album and it was gonna be very different from-

Johnny: Oh, right, yeah I got you now. I understand. So the question is, how different was it going to be? Well, what happened was, we had a meeting with the record company when we were preparing for that, and then, you know the whole Pearl Jam alternative shit was happening, and the record company said “Hey look, we know that you guys are talented enough that you can fit in this space as well. So we want to have a bit of an alternative flare.“ So, was it completely different? No, but it definitely had a little alternative feel to it. Yeah, it definitely did. I’m trying to recall… basically the difference was, what was happening is a lot of the singers were not using much vibrato. *demonstrates the difference*. So what we were doing was *sings a bit of “I Will Survive” (unreleased), without vibrato*. There it is, that was one of the songs.

We would like to thank both Jun and Johnny once again for their time, and also a massive thanks to Adam “T-Bird” Tuff & Svend “Dreadknux” Joscelyne for giving us this amazing opportunity.
SoS 2012 Interview Group

Posted on August 28, 2013 in Interviews

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