EDDIE OJEDA INTERVIEW:
Interviewed by Kathy F
March 24, 2008
Twisted Sister is still one of the hardest hitting rock bands around, their style and showmanship can not be denied. Since the band reunited they have played to ecstatic audiences all over the world including our troops in Korea. Eddie Ojeda is Twisted Sister’s lead guitarist and has many projects going on. Kathy F. got a chance to speak to Eddie via telephone a few days before the Christmas show in New York City.
Sleaze Roxx: You’re just back from touring Europe with Vampires Rock. How did you get involved with that?
Eddie Ojeda: I got involved with that through Paul Crook. He plays with Meatloaf now as the main guitarist, he used to play with Anthrax for a while. Through him I met the lead guy from Vampires Rock, Steve Steinman. I met him in Vegas and we kept in touch. He does this in the fall, starts in September and finishes in December. It’s based around Halloween.
Sleaze Roxx: What’s the show about?
Eddie Ojeda: It’s kind of like Rocky Horror but not as gay. Rocky Horror meets We Will Rock You sort of thing. There’s a little bit of pantomime, some jokes in the air and dialog. We do a lot of rock anthems. We did Burn In Hell and We’re Not Gonna Take It when I came in. During the night you’ll hear Queen, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake songs, and speed anthems. It’s a really great show. We have three girls in the show with a cast of maybe eleven or twelve people. There is a live band on stage. I play the guitar along with two other guitarists. It’s a cool show. Its funny and I had a lot of fun doing it. It is somewhere between theater and a live concert.
Sleaze Roxx: Do you think it will ever come to the US?
Eddie Ojeda: I don’t know. I’m sure Steve would like to bring it here, maybe shoot for Vegas first. I think it would do well cos it’s very entertaining but it’s hard to do it without any kind of a buzz. It’s got a good following in England. We hit theaters with capacities of one thousand to fifteen hundred people so it was a pretty decent tour.
Sleaze Roxx: How does it differ from touring with a rock band?
Eddie Ojeda: This is more theatrical. It’s sort of like being in a play. You’re on and off stage and there are platforms to deal with. The guys who made Iron Maiden’s stage designed the Vampires Rock stage. It’s different though, it felt more like I was in a play. With a band you’re on stage for the whole hour and a half or two hours. You do what you want to do. You blast through your songs and it’s just a whole different vibe.
Sleaze Roxx: What was your favorite thing about England?
Eddie Ojeda: It was a nice experience for me. When you live in a different culture for three months it gives you a better taste than when you just visit. But it’s all what you are used to. As Dorothy said “There’s no place like home”.
Sleaze Roxx: So what do you miss most when you are away?
Eddie Ojeda: The lifestyle here, especially here in New York. The people are a little more easy going. There’s more of a loose atmosphere. People are cool there too. It’s a matter of what you are used to. Where you were brought up is where you call home and that is where you feel comfortable. For me the US and NY are home. I love going to Europe. The way we are received there is awesome! Here in NY people are blasted with everything. Every tour comes through here. Places in Sweden and Finland don’t get as many acts and so they tend to appreciate you a little more.
Sleaze Roxx: Well you’ve been really busy this year. You put out an instructional video and a CD that you wrote and preformed on called Axes 2 Axes? How did that come about?
Eddie Ojeda: I always wanted to do a solo thing. Back in the Eighties I was so busy with the band and touring I didn’t have time. Then when the band broke up I didn’t feel it was good timing. People have asked me “Why did you wait so long to do a solo record?” After the band got back together I think we were bigger than we ever were which is kinda weird. So we were playing here and there and didn’t do the Christmas album for three years so I had time to do stuff. I just finally got around to it.
Sleaze Roxx: You had some amazing guest vocalists, Ronnie James Dio and Joe Lynn Turner. How did you get them involved?
Eddie Ojeda: When I did the CD I always wanted to have guest stars on there. To me it’s fun and keeps it exciting. Carlos Santana did that and I thought it was really cool. That was the idea and as I wrote different songs the right person just came into my head. I did a show in Puerto Rico with Dio and about a month before had written the song Tonight. Right away it sounded like a Dio song. It was influenced by an Alice in Chains song Man in the Box. Some jerk reviewed it and said I ripped off Jamie’s Crying. I don’t think the two songs sound anything alike. The melodies and riffs are totally different. Of course other songs can get you into a groove and you start to write from there, they inspire you but you want to do something original. Just because your beat is similar doesn’t mean anything.
It was a coincidence that two of the people, Joe and Ronnie, were both in Rainbow. So it’s funny and weird you know, I always liked Rainbow so it was kind of cool to have Joe and especially Ronnie, but to get both of them was unbelievable.
Ronnie was really cool when I saw him in Puerto Rico I gave him a copy of the song and asked, “Would you like doing the song?” When he heard it I think he really dug it. He told me “When I go home I have a studio in my house and I’ll bang the song out in the next two weeks.” So he actually did the vocals in LA and sent me them which is the great thing about now a days you can email people stuff. We sent each other CDs and then I just uploaded it. I heard the right person for the song and I just wanted to have a little fun with different people on there. You know, give it a different flavor.
Sleaze Roxx: I never really liked Eleanor Rigby, but your rendition with Dee Snider on vocals really rocks!
Eddie Ojeda: That was the general reaction. [Laughs]
Sleaze Roxx: You even did some live dates on Long Island and New Jersey, they were amazing shows.
Eddie Ojeda: Thanks.
Sleaze Roxx: The guys you took on tour with you were Andre Vanchot on vocals, Chris McCarvill on bass and BJ Zampa on drums. Where’d you find them?
Eddie Ojeda: I met Chris through a singer I was working with named Gene Michaels. He introduced me to Chris and I kept in touch with him. I always thought he was an excellent player and song writer. I did another show with him, Sebastian Bach and Rob Afusso, a one day show and we called it Skid Sister. We did one big show and that was it. We did half Twisted Sister and half Skid Row stuff. So when I decided to do some solo shows I called Chris. He is the one who introduced me to Andre and BJ and there was a real good chemistry. We all worked really well together. I had met Andre before because he was in a band with Chris called X Factor X. We’re hoping to do more stuff if we can get the right gigs together in the spring with the same lineup. I loved working with these guys, they’re all great guys and very talented. We have a great chemistry so we’ll see what happens.
Sleaze Roxx: The CD and video are available on your web site right?
Eddie Ojeda: Yeah, right now and I’m also planning on doing a follow up CD sometime next year. Hopefully I’ll start in January. I’m going to keep making records. My goal is to do one a year, but that’s been kind of difficult.
Sleaze Roxx: You’ve come full circle with Twisted Sister. You had a great show last year at Starland Ballroom.
Eddie Ojeda: Thanks.
Sleaze Roxx: This year you’re doing two dates here in New York and you’ve already done one in California. How’d it feel to be back in Califuckinfornia?
Eddie Ojeda: Great. It was an awesome crowd, more than doubled what we had last time. Everybody was real happy. We packed out the House of Blues. Of course LA and NY are two of the funniest cities to play but we love to play all over the country. The Christmas thing we try to keep it coastal.
Sleaze Roxx: Years ago when you were playing back in the clubs and you were going out to make it all I heard about was Califuckinfornia.
Eddie Ojeda: Yeah, we even had the tee shirts.
Sleaze Roxx: While you were in Europe you did a bunch of dates with Twisted Sister. Where did you find the time?
Eddie Ojeda: Somehow Danny Stanton squeezed it in. He saw that I had four days off and he figured he’d try to kill me. I had four days here and two days there, but I was working the rest of the days. I did eight days in a row in four different countries. It was brutal for me because I was traveling by myself sometimes. When I was with Twisted Sister it was cool cos I had help, but there were times when I was on my own with all this gear and stuff in the airport. I mean it was great but a bit tough. That was a rough week.
Sleaze Roxx: In addition to this interview I know you were supposed to do Jay Leno and Craig Ferguson. Is that still gonna happen?
Eddie Ojeda: No, because of the writers strike we never did them. Maybe next year when we do the Twisted Sister/Bob Hope Special. [Laughs] You know Dee can come out dressed like the Fonz.
Sleaze Roxx: This year was the first ever Rocklahoma Festival. How did you like that?
Eddie Ojeda: It was great! It’s great to see that happen in America. We need a festival every year here. I’m so glad it was successful. In Europe they have all these festivals and people go every year. Anywhere from 300 to 400 thousand people show up. They did a great job with Rocklahoma. It was a cookie cutter of some of the European festivals and they really set it up right. Everything ran really smooth. There was a great turn out and they’re going to do it every year.
Sleaze Roxx: Do you think you’ll play again next year?
Eddie Ojeda: I think I might play with my band, with Andre, Chris and BJ. I’m not sure yet but I’m working on that. I don’t think Twisted will do it two years in a row. We did headline last year.
Sleaze Roxx: You’ve been recognized in the Who’s Who in Rock and Roll. Back in the club days did you ever see Twisted Sister becoming rock icons?
Eddie Ojeda: I don’t know if I thought we’d be icons, but I definitely wanted to take it to the next level. The clubs were great and for me it was a great way to make a living. But we always wanted to take it further and that’s exactly what we did.
Sleaze Roxx: The level you’ve achieved now after the comeback is just phenomenal. Not many bands ever get that far.
Eddie Ojeda: I think people are finally recognizing the band for a lot more than they thought it was. Back then everyone who wore make up and had long hair got lumped in together and labeled so people didn’t really listen. If you listen to some of our stuff it’s hard as nails. By no means is it just power pop.
Sleaze Roxx: The Club Daze CD is my favorite. Songs like Come Back and Pay the Price are the best. What are your favorite memories from those days?
Eddie Ojeda: It was fun to be working every night locally. In a way those times were more fun than after we made it. Once you start playing arenas with bands like Iron Maiden you don’t really get to meet many people and hang out much. You just do your show and get on the bus and go to the next town. People ask what it’s like to tour and it’s just an endless sea of backstage coliseums. The view out the tour bus window is just highway, houses and fast food places. Once in a while we had a chance to take a few days off in a certain town and take in some of the sites. The club days were a lot more fun. We got to hang out and we all lived locally so we didn’t have to travel far. It was a lot more personal and really cool.
Sleaze Roxx: There’s a guy in Germany who’s doing a documentary on you and Twisted Sister. Will you guys be involved in that?
Eddie Ojeda: Yeah, he’s interviewed all of us. I can’t remember his name right now.
Sleaze Roxx: Andy Horn.
Eddie Ojeda: Andy Horn, right, right. I met him over at Jay Jay’s house. Yeah we’re definitely gonna be involved in that. I heard he’s interviewed a lot of people.
Sleaze Roxx: He did a documentary for somebody who opened for you. A classical opera singer, now I can’t remember his name. Jay Jay had to tear him off the stage before the crowd killed him. He told the story during an interview for his documentary and Andy thought it was so interesting he decided to do one on you.
Eddie Ojeda: I don’t remember his name either, but I remember feeling bad for him.
Sleaze Roxx: So, what’s next for you?
Eddie Ojeda: Well like I said I’m planning to work on a solo CD and possibly do some dates. I’d like to get on a tour maybe doing something with Michael Shenker. We’ll see what happens. There won’t be a new album with Twisted Sister. We’re basically sticking with the material we have and playing that instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.
Sleaze Roxx: So you don’t think that’s ever a possibility?
Eddie Ojeda: I’d never say never, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon, but we’ll see. I plan to continue making records so you’ll hear new stuff from me.
Sleaze Roxx: You ROCK! Thank you so much Eddie.
Eddie Ojeda: Sure Kathy, no problem.
For more info on Eddie Ojeda you can visit www.eddieojeda.com and www.myspace.com/eddieojeda
Thanks to Eddie Ojeda and Kathy F