DAVE ALFORD INTERVIEW:
August 12, 2007
As a member of Rough Cutt, drummer Dave Alford was knee-deep in the L.A. Sunset Strip metal invasion. Landing a record deal before both Motley Crue and his ex-bandmates Ratt, Rough Cutt was poised for success, but in this exclusive interview Dave explains why things didn’t work out and talks about his new band Kryme.
Sleaze Roxx: What are you up to musically these days?
Dave Alford: Kryme, that’s my new project. I’m still writing and producing. I have a new web site coming out, www.rockindave.com, which is under construction as we speak.
Sleaze Roxx: Are you writing and working on an album for Kryme?
Dave Alford: Yes. You can check out the KRYME myspace (www.myspace.com/kryme) for details soon.
Sleaze Roxx: Which do you find more satisfying, recording your own music or producing other bands?
Dave Alford: I enjoy both, but at this moment I’m not working with any other bands or projects except our own. Right now it’s strictly about the Kryme record. We’re currently knocking out tunes in pre-production and that is consuming most of my time. However, once that is complete I plan on getting back into producing bands and artists and I’m looking forward to that as well.
When I’m not writing and producing the Kryme disc, I’m planning and constructing the new Rockin Dave website. This website will allow people to catch up on the latest with Rockin Dave and Kryme. This will also allow bands and artists to contact me regarding producing, session work, and co-writing opportunities. When it’s all said and done, this is where you can catch me, www.rockindave.com.
Sleaze Roxx: For people that haven’t heard Kryme, how would you describe the music to them?
Dave Alford: Straight forward kick ass rock, but different, yet raw and heavy.
Sleaze Roxx: How exciting was it to be playing on the Sunset Strip during the beginning of the hard rock years?
Dave Alford: Playing on Sunset Strip was great, it was a hell of a lot different back then. Flyering was a real art back then. I remember coming out of the Roxy at 3:00am after a show … kids hanging out on the streets and parking lots wading through tons of flyers. I miss those days.
Sleaze Roxx: You were in an early version of Ratt, how did you get hooked up with them?
Dave Alford: When I was in Max Havic, Jake E. Lee and Stephen Pearcy would come to the Starwood to watch me play. After the show Jake would compliment my playing and invite me to come check them out.
Max Havic had just finished a club tour to Florida. When the band got back we broke up. Shortly after that I went to the Troubadour and Ratt was playing. After their show I went upstairs to the dressing room and complimented the boys on the show. Everyone left the room except Jake and I. I told Jake that Max Havic had broke up. He then grabbed Stephen and brought him back into the room and they immediately asked me if I would join the group and I said yes.
As you very well know, Ratt and Motley Crue were the two biggest bands in Southern California. I played with Ratt for two years. When I quit Ratt Jake came with me and we started the band Rough Cutt. After nearly two years Jake left Rough Cutt to go to Ozzy, taking Randy Rhoads place.
Sleaze Roxx: Jake E. Lee is a great player and seems to be rather mysterious, what is he really like?
Dave Alford: Jake is probably one of the greatest guitarists on the planet. And yes, he has always been kind of a mysterious guy. He is also a quiet guy, very determined and very opinionated.
Sleaze Roxx: Why did you quit Ratt?
Dave Alford: At a Ratt band meeting, Stephen Pearcy fired the rhythm guitarist, Bob Dellelis, who was a friend of mine. Stephen then turned to me and asked, “Are you Okay with that”? I told him that firing a band member should be a band decision, not just his. The band’s name is Ratt, not Ratt and Stephen Pearcy. If you’re going to start firing people I am going to look for another gig, I’m looking for a record deal not a soap opera. Then Pearcy turned to Jake E. Lee and said, “Don’t worry brother, I know another drummer”. Jake said, “If Dave is leaving, I’m going with him”. That was the birth of Rough Cutt.
Sleaze Roxx: Were there hard feelings with the way you left Ratt?
Dave Alford: No, it was a professional decision. I still talk to Stephen and the boys when I see them.
Sleaze Roxx: How was Rough Cutt received when you first came onto the scene?
Dave Alford: Awesome. Having Ronnie James Dio’s wife, Wendy, as a manager opened up a lot of doors that got Rough Cutt on the scene quickly. As a matter of fact, Rough Cutt got a major label deal before Motley Crue and Ratt. Our mistake was waiting for Ted Templeman for a year to produce us. He was busy doing Van Halen’s 1984 album and then David Lee Roth’s first solo record. By the time it was approaching one year we decided to go with Judas Priest’s producer, Tom Allom.
Sleaze Roxx: Was Rough Cutt’s ties to Dio a mixed blessing, because didn’t he more less grab Jake E. Lee away from your band?
Dave Alford: Yes, Ronnie did try to grab Jake. I was happy for Jake that he got the offer but ultimately it wasn’t his real goal, he was really after the job with Ozzy using Ronnie’s wife Windy as a way in.
Sleaze Roxx: What are your memories of recording Rough Cutt’s debut album? Could you tell then that you had lost some momentum by waiting for Templeman?
Dave Alford: Ratt, Motley Crue, and Rough Cutt all got record deals within three weeks of each other and our record should have came out around the same time there’s did. And yes, I knew we were losing momentum waiting for Templeman. Paul and I didn’t want to wait but we were out voted by the guitar players.
I’ve always wondered what the outcome would have been since Rough Cutt had the better singer out of the three bands. Ohh well, that’s rock and roll.
Sleaze Roxx: You toured behind Dio for the debut album. What are some of your best memories of that tour and what was with the Super Rock show in Japan?
Dave Alford: I have a million great memories of that tour… I’ll never forget this one night in New York City, Madison Square Garden. We were staying at the Waldorf and Dio’s bass player, Jimmy Bain disappeared. Everyone was running around the hotel looking for him when George Harris, Rough Cutt Security, and I passed a small corridor and heard, cha-chink cha-chink… We looked around the corner and found him laying on the ground with his legs sticking out of the elevator door passed out cold still holding his drink… he hadn’t spilled a drop.
Any time you play in front of a 500,000 people it’s a great feeling. We felt like the Beatles having 1000’s of people waiting for us at the airport.
Sleaze Roxx: After watching bands like the Crue and Ratt reach mainstream success, what was the game-plan to get Rough Cutt the same level of success?
Dave Alford: We missed our window waiting a year so we did another record, shot another video, and went on tour. Unfortunately, after the “Wants You” record the band broke up. We dabbled with a few more recordings but nothing came out until the live album a few years later.
Sleaze Roxx: When did you realize it was time to put Rough Cutt to rest?
Dave Alford: Once music started changing again, with the birth of NIVARNA and the Seattle wave of rock, I knew it was time to make a change. Once I started hearing things from the guys like maybe we should split up. Me, myself and I went to the streets of L.A. again looking for another singer. That’s when I found DANNY SIMONE of JAILHOUSE.
Sleaze Roxx: How did the chemistry of Jailhouse compare to that of Rough Cutt and did the lack of commercial success of Rough Cutt hurt the new band?
Dave Alford: The chemistry of JAILHOUSE was completely different from Rough Cutt, the lack commercial success had nothing to do with the sound of JAILHOUSE. The fact that all of the songs were written buy the same guy is what happened to JAILHOUSE, unlike Rough Cutt there was no depth to our music. It might as well been called the Mike Rapheall band.
Sleaze Roxx: It sounds like you didn’t enjoy Jailhouse as Rough Cutt, is that the case?
Dave Alford: No, Jailhouse was a lot of fun. It was just one sided.
Sleaze Roxx: What are some of your most outrageous memories about your time on the Strip?
Dave Alford: Watching Tommy Lee and Vince Neil get into fist fights in the Rainbow, and the outrageous parties at Motley Crue’s Clark apartment.
Sleaze Roxx: Could you tell Motley Crue had what it would take to be major stars, and if so what other bands did you think would be huge?
Dave Alford: I recall Motley Crue at the Troubadour pre-record deal in 1980 or 1981 and I totally knew that they were going to be the biggest band on the planet. Matt Thorne and I were standing in the audience and the kids were dressed like Motley Crue and that’s when I knew that they would be the next biggest thing.
I knew Bon Jovi was going to be huge when they opened for Ratt at the San Diego sports arena, I looked around the audience and all the girls were going wild for them.
Sleaze Roxx: I was supposed to ask about jet-setting with Vince Neil. What was that all about?
Dave Alford: It was about two best friends having the time of their lives back in the day …. “WhoooYaaaa”
SR: I’ll list some names, what comes to mind for each?
– Blackie Lawless
Dave Alford: Useless.
– Chris Squire
Dave Alford: A very close friend and ex room mate.
– Kevin DuBrow
Dave Alford: A screaming maniac.
– Sean McNabb
Dave Alford: Bass player extraordinaire.
Sleaze Roxx: Would you agree that Amir Derakh was one of the silliest stage names ever?
Dave Alford: No, actually it’s part of his real name.
Sleaze Roxx: Did you ever wish Dio and Ozzy would find their own guitarists?
Dave Alford: They did. They just happened to be playing with me first.
Thanks to Dave Alford