INTERVIEW WITH FOUNDRY
Date: September 16, 2015
Interviewer: Bobby Caughron
I’VE BEEN FOLLOWING THE CAREER OF VOCALIST KELLY KEELING FOR YEARS. I WAS FIRST AWARE OF HIM AS THE LEAD SINGER FOR THE BAND BATON ROUGE. KELLY WENT ON TO RECORD AND WRITE MATERIAL WITH AN AMAZING LINE-UP OF BANDS AND ARTISTS INCLUDING ALICE COOPER, DON DOKKEN, MICHAEL SCHENKER, GEORGE LYNCH, JOHN SYKES AND MORE THAN I CAN POSSIBLY LIST IN ONE ARTICLE. WHEN I HEARD THAT HE HAD A NEW BAND CALLED SIMPLY FOUNDRY, I KNEW THAT I WAS IN FOR A TREAT. RECENTLY, I GOT A CHANCE TO INTERVIEW KELLY KEELING AND TALK WITH GUITARIST JAMES FUCCI AND DRUMMER MARC BRATTIN ABOUT THEIR DEBUT ALBUM WHICH IS OUT NOW.
Marc Brattin: Two years.
Sleaze Roxx: How did you guys meet? How did you meet Kelly Keeling? He’s one of those journeymen of rock who’s played with a celebrity A-list of who’s who in rock.
Marc Brattin: Kelly and I were born and raised in Lafayette, LA; went on separate paths and reunited after 30 years when James and I were looking for a singer. James and I met in Las Vegas about ten years ago when both [of us] had just moved there and were looking to form a band.
Sleaze Roxx: Tell me about the songwriting process for this album. Did you work together or contribute parts separately to create the end result? What was the overall vision and goal for the debut album?
Marc Brattin: James and I wrote all the music that is very intentional; simple rock riffs, simple arrangements that a singer can have a field day with… We wrote all the music separately from Kelly. Then he came in and wrote all the lyrics and melodies separately.
Sleaze Roxx: So Marc, who are your influences? Give me your three favorite drummers of all-time.
Marc Brattin: Tommy Aldridge, Neil Peart, Vinny Appice.
Sleaze Roxx: James, how about you? Who’s on your top list of guitar heroes?
James Fucci: Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, David Gilmore… I mean, besides their technical skills, all three have this incredibly unique sense of melody in their playing that just grabs me, and makes me want to learn what they’re doing. They made me want to play guitar.
Sleaze Roxx: James, what type of equipment do you prefer to use?
James Fucci: Dean Guitars all the way, they rock! They look great, sound amazing, play like a dream — there’s no substitute. Dean Guitars. Should I tell my dirty little secret? My stack amp setup now sits in my closet. Line 6 pod, I’ve got the hd500x, and I use it exclusively to dial in my sounds, direct to the sound board, no amp. It takes a lot of knob turning and patience, but at the end of the day, it sounds better than anything else, by far. I can’t wait for the next generation of these things, they just get better and better.
Marc Brattin: Yes, I’m 100% electronic drums disguised as acoustic drums — even the cymbals. It allows me to have a studio perfect sound in every setting. There are some custom visual features as well.
Sleaze Roxx: Marc, if you could step in and play drums for any band for a one time appearance, who would it be?
Marc Brattin: Scorpions’ “No One Like You.” It’s the first song I learned on drums and still one of my favorite bands ever.
Sleaze Roxx: James, if you could step in a play guitar for any band for a one time appearance, who would it be?
James Fucci: Sitting in with any band… well, besides the fact I sit in with the best band every night — Foundry! Let’s see. I think if [I] get to use a time machine on this one, it would be The Beatles. Just hit after hit, huge screaming audiences, amazing performers — what could be better?
Sleaze Roxx: Last but not least, Kelly, if you could step in and be the vocalist for any band for a one time appearance, who would it be?
Kelly Keeling: The Beatles and/or John Lennon.
Sleaze Roxx: Kelly, I’m big fan of your work with Baton Rouge. I really thought that Baton Rouge was one of those great bands that didn’t get the huge success that they deserved. Looking back on it, how do you feel about that time period?
Kelly Keeling: Well, I learned a lot from the big league industry folks most of whom I’m still friends with… One namely who changed my life for the better was producer Mike Clink. I hadn’t prepared to be a singer but he had other plans for me and sent me to Ron Anderson, the best vocal coach in the world, where I met so many great singers you know as legends. He did his job and demanded I do mine. Life changing times and great memories of raising a family in California. Everything was new; two year old son, band of kids. MCA signed me to a songwriting deal with Lance Bulen where we wrote songs for other groups and movie soundtracks, etc… Jeff Scott Soto re-sang some of my songs who I was a fan of from knowing Yngwie Malmsteen’s works.
Kelly Keeling: Life now.. Still alive and well. Made a close to the perfect album with my new band Foundry with Marc Brattin reconnecting from Louisiana to Vegas, and James Fucci — magic guitar Sabbath Iommi style. Serious band with serious fate and faith, work ethic and grace…
Sleaze Roxx: One more for Kelly. How was it working with other artists like George Lynch, John Norum, Michael Schenker and Carmine Appice in King Kobra?
Kelly Keeling: All these guys are great. Different personalities, music goals, etc… I just show up as KK and do my job.
Sleaze Roxx: Do you guys all live in the Vegas area? If not, does that make coordinating band events more difficult?
Kelly Keeling: I have dual residency in Baton Rouge and Las Vegas and travel wherever the music and work takes me.
Sleaze Roxx: How was working with multi-Grammy winning mixer and producer, Steve Thompson, on your debut release? He certainly has a lot of respect in the music industry.
Marc Brattin: Steve was straight-up awesome. He mixed the record loud and hard, like he was running sound for a Metallica concert. “Let’s blow the doors off this bitch!”
Sleaze Roxx: Not that I try to classify bands into any certain genre, but I am having a hard time in describing the overall sound of Foundry. I mean, it’s definitely heavy rock, but I hear a lot of different influences and cross-genre sounds in your music. How would you describe your sound?
Marc Brattin and James Fucci: Yes, it’s exactly that. We have a lot of musical influences and history with so much to pull from and we do. However, it’s all hard rock — old school meets new school with a everything in between.
Marc Brattin: “Television” — it has a little bit of all the things that make Foundry. Plus, it kicks ass!
James Fucci: “Television” but “Mind Radio” is a really close second.
Sleaze Roxx: Kelly, speaking of “Mind Radio,” I know that you recently released a new solo album coincidentally entitled ‘Mind Radio.’ Do you like having a solo career to try out different things as opposed to being bound to a band sound? Do you find the solo releases to be liberating as an artist?
Kelly Keeling: Not particularly. I like the band thing. Obviously, I have ideas of my own and seem to stand out in certain projects. Probably cause I’m the singer. I like both!
Sleaze Roxx: Do you have any plans to tour this year?
Marc and James: We have some select dates opening for Scorpions/Queensryche through 2016. Besides that, we’ve been “cherry picking” opening slots for touring bands that come through Vegas.
Sleaze Roxx: If you were given the chance to tour with any band out there, who would it be? Why?
Marc Brattin: The Scorpions — because it’s possible and the music styles blend well. Plus we know and like them. Otherwise, Metallica or AC/DC cause they’re huge and [I] think their fans will like our music too.
Sleaze Roxx: And finally, one last question. There’s a lot of talk these days about rock music being dead. What’s your take on that?
James Fucci: People have been saying that for thirty or forty years now and still hasn’t happened yet.
Marc Brattin: Rock music will never die!!!!!
You can also listen to extra audio of my interview with Marc and James as we discuss their new album, the state of rock n’ roll and more.