INTERVIEW WITH DIANE & THE DEDUCTIBLES SINGER DIANE ADAMS
Date: August 1, 2019
Interviewer: Tyson Briden
Photos: Courtesy of Diane & The Deductibles
THERE CAN BE TIMES WHEN INTERVIEWING AN ARTIST THAT THE CONVERSATION CAN GO ON FOR HOURS. THAT IS THE CASE WITH THE INTERVIEW BELOW. I RECENTLY SPOKE WITH DIANE & THE DEDUCTIBLES SINGER DIANE ADAMS. I BELIEVE I STOPPED RUNNING TAPE AFTER TWO HOURS. IT WASN’T BECAUSE I FELT THAT IT WASN’T WORTHY OF RECORDING, BUT BECAUSE I HONESTLY HAD ENOUGH MATERIAL TO WRITE A MULTIPLE PAGE ESSAY. NOW TAKE THAT WITH A GRAIN OF SALT. THAT’S NOT A BAD THING. HERE WAS AN ARTIST WHO POURED HER HEART OUT TO ME. THERE WAS NOTHING LEFT UNSAID. ADAMS IS A VERY PERSONABLE, INTERESTING AND TALENTED ARTIST WHO’S DRIVE REALLY INSPIRES ME TO WORK HARDER. I CAN SEE WHY DIANE & THE DEDUCTIBLES ARE GAINING MOMENTUM ON THE ROCK SCENE. HARD WORK WILL ALWAYS PAY OFF.
OF COURSE, I REALLY COULDN’T PUT EVERYTHING THAT WAS SAID INTO THE INTERVIEW, BUT I THINK I WAS ABLE TO CAPTURE THE BRIGHTEST MOMENTS OF THE CONVERSATION. PLEASE ENJOY WHAT THIS VERY TALENTED LADY HAS PUT FORWARD AND IF POSSIBLE, CHECK OUT HER BAND’S LATEST CD ‘TWO’!
Sleaze Roxx: Diane, thanks for talking. I got the CD of the latest album in the mail two days ago with all this awesome stuff in it. That was kind of exciting.
Diane Adams: Well you know, I do all the packaging. I pretty much manage the band and pay for the band. It’s kind of been my project. I understand marketing so I just thought I would make an album / CD cover and that’s what I did so I could put a little bio on the flip top of the piece and then send this real cool little key chain. Not many people have CDs anymore but I’ve always really liked the CD opener. It’s always been beneficial, so I thought I would give as a gift with our name on it.
Sleaze Roxx: I loved it and I used it to open the CD. I actually commented to my wife, “Look at this? This is so cool!” I have a huge CD collection but as well vinyl. I still try and buy the actual hard copy.
Diane Adams: I thought of the packaging, so then I thought, “Well, if it’s travelling in the mail, we have the band picture on the outside that people will see!” It’s all just general marketing. There is something to be said when you shake something and you know there’s something inside of there. It’s kind of intriguing.
Sleaze Roxx: You totally nailed it because when I pulled it out of the mailbox and I was shaking it. I was thinking, “The CD case didn’t break did it? No, no, that doesn’t seem right! It sounds like there’s something else in there!” Then I couldn’t wait to open it up to see what was in there. Job well done! Anyways, let’s talk about the album. I looked over your bio. It stated you had previously been a studio singer?
Diane Adams: Yes! I was a studio singer doing mainly commercials and records. It didn’t really play out. I wasn’t a live performer. I was mainly a studio artist. So this has been a great experience for me the last four and a half years. To start the band and getting it rolling, I decided to get some sponsorship and produce a concert series. So that’s what I did. I would initiate the contracts with the bands that I wanted to hire. I tried to get something that would be close to us. Original artists! Then I would do the marketing. I’d have a concert every two months. I had a 319 seat theater. I called it the Rock & Blues Concert Series. I would completely stage it with tables, red carpet — putting my sponsors on the red carpet. I had lots of photographers. Then I treated the VIPs to food and unlimited drink. Then I hired the sound and lights. I had a video crew of five people. Only in the last year did we figure out that we should probably run the actual sound through the board on stage. There was a board in the audience and then the board on stage for monitor mix that we should probably run through Pro-Tools. So we started doing that at the very end.
So this was kind of the start of this and we would write a brand new song for every show. Then I would do all the marketing, sell all the tickets and get all the documents in order. I’d get everything dialed in. I’d show up at Noon and make sure all the food rolled in. Made sure all the sound and lights was done. I had sound check at five o’clock with the band. Then I would roll downstairs and our show would be at seven. So as I said, I’d get there at noon, open the door, welcome everybody and get everything rolling in and then play for an hour. It was a good experience to just see how the whole process worked. Then about two years ago — August 2017 — I decided to do a record which is the album ‘Two’. So I decided to do recording instead of playing out. I just decided to do a record instead. It was a lot of work to load in and load out because we had to convert this old library into three rooms of performance and after party. The after party was a little different at these shows because the bands would sign contracts with me, but part of that contract had them do a meet and greet with everybody that showed up. So we stopped around September of 2017.
Hank Linkerman, who was the producer — he’s got credit from The Eagles and he’s plays second guitar with Timothy Schmidt. He did some work with Chicago. So we tracked for three days in Orange County. It was pretty much live. The only overdubs were my voice and the background vocals. I think Robert [Sarzo] may have done one little piece, but it was nothing. They mainly comp’d it from all the live playing. They’re all real good players. Around January, we have a NAMM show here in L.A., so I was trying to nail down our specific start to master/mix, do all that stuff. In that January, right around the NAMM show, I remember driving to the NAMM and he says, “Diane, I have good and bad news.” I said, “What’s the news?” He goes, “I decided to become a politician!” I’m thinking, “God! Where did that come from?” And he became a politician. He had a second residence in Kentucky and he decided to become a Democrat representative in that ward in Kentucky. So I said, “Oh! Well what am I going to do?” He says, “Well, I can refer you to a few friends!” I said, “No! That’s okay! I’m done. Thanks anyways!”
Then I kind of went to a few people that I knew. So I went to my other guitar player. He has a studio, but I was trying to keep it third party because it’s just a different perspective for direction and mix. It was okay. We spent much time and he mixed it, but then I thought, “No!” Then Robert had this guy Andy Zuckerman, so we started communicating with him. He was some driving distance. It was always hard to get up there, but we did send him the tracks and he was able to start mixing them. In January / February of this year, I went into surgery and I had a show opening for Oingo Boingo and I had to cancel that. We still had this album. It’s not done. Andy’s mixing. So then I had a live show with Missing Persons February 8th and I drugged myself to play the show. You have to not succumb to those illnesses. Then I booked a whole bunch of shows up until July 15th.
Meanwhile, I said, “We’ve got to do a release!” I just kept pushing and pushing it. We finally finished all the mixes and we got the mastering form Howie Weinberg. He had more Diamond records then I had ever seen in my life. I didn’t even know a Diamond record existed. Anyways, they were all over the walls. He’s a very interesting guy. We ended up releasing the album on May 24th. Then I thought, “Well, we have a few shows!” You know you actually have to breath, so I wanted to figure out how to promote. Doing it yourself — promoting it. Trying to figure out where you get the next step but then you still have to be an artist. So we booked a show with The Motels in October and I said, “Let’s do a record!” So we decided we’re going to go to a studio called Total Access. That’s where they did “Welcome To The Jungle” and all kinds of really fabulous material. So we’re going there and start doing the next album which will be titled ‘Three’! Keeping it simple… 1, 2, 3!
So our plan right now is — Robert’s real busy, you know he has another band to make money. I have a business. That’s where I make money. So we have a sub guitar player, Mike Wallace, that helps us if Robert can’t. I want to do the shows with Robert because he’s the band. When we create the songs and he rips out on his solos — it’s hard for someone to imitate the solo. I mean you can play the notes, but it’s the feel! The execution and the love that goes out. People can feel it. Mike is a great guitar player. He’s very busy, he’s a fun guy and he always helps us in that way. If I have to book something and we’re not sure if Robert can do it — he has another two projects actually. His old band Hurricane and his Billy Idol tribute, Idol X. So I always love him to be on the shows.
I also really love the other guitar player Mike Wallace. He’s played with a bunch of interesting people. He’s a good player and he’s a very smart business guy. So we’ll start back playing again and it seems that I’m trying to get some traction, so we could maybe play a festival or get some attention, meanwhile as we’re writing some new songs. We have four songs that are going to be recorded and we may get a fifth. We just jam and we share the whole process which is kind of cool. It’s kind of how it used to be. I don’t walk away and try to write a song and they don’t do the same. We kind of jam on ideas. Then I’ll come up with some idea of the words. Then I’ll go craft the words. I usually then develop the harmonies. I always tell the band, “I want to sing the words, write them and create my own melodies!” I know where my voice suits and feels the best.
Sleaze Roxx: I had actually mentioned to Robert as I listened to the album — you mentioned you all write together and that’s something I asked him because as I listened, I came to the conclusion that there was no way one person wrote this. It was the complexity of all that was going on. There’s one guitar doing one thing and than the other doing something totally different, than compound that with your voice. Everything is moving really nicely with the vocals.
Diane Adams: Thank you.
Sleaze Roxx: Oh, you are very welcome. My first listen, I thoroughly enjoyed it because I thought, “Oh this is the way that I like to listen to music! I can hear everything!” As I told Robert, job well done!
Diane Adams: You know that’s nice. It’s a project where we love to get together every week and we love to craft and review. As soon as I get out of the rehearsal, I listen to what we did at rehearsal. We’ll go back the next week. We rehearse on Wednesday’s. We rehearsed at this one place called ‘Sound Stage’ for seven years. The guy knows me very well. He gives me the Wednesday’s. I pay by the month. It’s easy. So it’s all very concise. Anyways, the art comes out of that room. We’ll look at these songs and then we’ll listen. We’ll make an MP3 so we can send them to the rest of the band. We have from 7:30 to 11:30 to kind of go over things. Try and do them a little better. Make them a little bit more marketable. Set a good representation of what we’re thinking. We’re writing a song about suicide called “Darkness In The Room.” Another one that we’ve just written, which I really like and I think it should go to every memorial service. It’s obviously about someone dying. Every moment someone dies. For me, lyrics are really important. “I will never say goodbye. I won’t let my heart cry when you’re gone.” The words I think are very profound. We have this very lush harmony in it. I always like words. If you can say something that’s important, I think it makes it a little better. Sometimes people don’t listen to words and you know that! Sometimes, it just doesn’t happen. Something else moves them in the music. So make sure that all the aspects are covered.
Sleaze Roxx: In getting to some of the songs on ‘Two’, “Breaking The Chain” starts very laid back. There are very articulated picked notes. It kind of has a Bonnie Raitt feel to it. Then going to the chorus, it has an Ann Wilson comparison. The dynamic of the instrumentation — it’s going along and then all of a sudden, it captures you because of the stop.
Diane Adams: It really brings you in. It’s not framed like a normal song. It’s kind of like with “Tears”, when we wrote that song. That was the first song we kind of broke out and wrote. We did write another one that will be on the next album called “You’re So Amazing.” That has some rock feels to it. This is a different feel. I have a low contralto voice. I wanted to keep it as I felt it. Not frame it into something typical.
Diane & The Deductibles‘ “Tears” video:
Written & Performed by Diane & The Deductibles 2019 Diane & The Deductibles – TWO- Out Now Director: Natalie Lauren, Sky Dusk Entertainment Recording Producer- Hank Linderman Mixed by Andy Zuckerman-The Institute of Noise, Los Angeles, CA.
Sleaze Roxx: You mentioned a “Three Dollar Bill”, which I thought was hilarious.
Diane Adams: Well, the only “Three Dollar Bill” in the world is in the Bahamas.
Sleaze Roxx: I didn’t know that!
Diane Adams: That’s why, “Bahama Baby! I want to change your life. Don’t be so hazy!”
Sleaze Roxx: Those are great, clever lyrics! I had no idea about the Bahamas. Maybe if I had done a little bit more homework, I’d known that.
Diane Adams: [Laughs] I was just trying to do something a little different. It’s more of a message like our song “Tears.” For me, that’s why I printed a lyric book, to write out the lyrics, so the people that like lyrics will go, “Oh, there’s lyrics!” Then there are people that don’t look at lyrics and that’s fine. As long as it’s something for everybody, I’m okay.
Sleaze Roxx: Sometimes with lyrics, passages like that one, you’re thinking, asking yourself, “What does she mean there?” Sometimes, I don’t pay attention to the lyrics, but if something really captures me, then I want to know more about it. I guess I’m kind of weird that way.
Diane Adams: You know, you’re a wordsmith. For you, lyrics, words and concepts, that actually hits your center. Where sometimes just a bass line will hit somebody’s center or drums. There’s something in it for everybody. I always hope to craft interesting things. “Sweet, Love And Emotion” it’s the country-est song that we’ve got. If anyone has ever been in love or has had a good partnership in life, they know that’s the breath of your day. Regardless of the details. The overall picture. It’s just as country as we get.
Sleaze Roxx: I was curious about the two guitar thing. It really stands out. I did mention this to Robert as well. When you were putting the band together, was this something that you had in your mind or was it just a natural progression? With getting the guys you have in the band, it just evolved into that.
Diane Adams: Well, for the guitars, I’m a guitar person. I like guitar sound. I like the heavy orchestration of guitar together. Not so much keyboard. I didn’t want patches or keyboard fills. It just wasn’t what I was looking for. I play rhythm guitar, so I just hold down some of the rhythm and they can go off and do their double harmony, which I think is terrific. I like to create space. We just wrote a new song. It’s a funky, weird feel. It’s “Darkness In The Room.” We started it last year, then we kind of left it. We were playing so much then. We had this other guitar player filling in. We were rehearsing him, so our time to write kind of got limited. We left it alone and now we’re back to pulling it out again. It was when Kate Spade and Michael Godane — they just killed themselves within two weeks of each other. Kate Spade, I was just astonished that she would do that in front of her 13 year old daughter with a red scarf.
The whole thing, I was just very inspired by it. This music was very kind of spooky. We are coming up with something that was percussive, but dissident. So we’re working on that now. Then it has a real poppy chorus. I had this part for a third verse, but I love guitar so much, I said, “Okay Robert, I’ll take the two verses and you take the third!” I think that keeps it moving better. It’s interesting because we all have real clear ideas about things. There’s lots of good background. Keith [Lynch] is a really great guitar player. He actually teaches a lot of people. He’s the guy with the studio. He manipulates the chords a little bit differently. He sees a lot of orchestration. Robert’s more of an edgy player. Keith’s more of a chordal — he loves lead too, but he’s a chordal master. So, I love the guitar. I don’t know if that was the question you were asking?
Sleaze Roxx: No, no. That’s cool. That’s close to it. It was asking what your vision was in terms of the guitars.
Diane Adams: Yes, no keyboards. Just guitars! I didn’t want to have to be the support rhythm guitar player. We started out originally with me and another guitar player, bass and drums. I didn’t want to hold that down because there’s a lot of time when I need to be singing. I don’t want to stand up there and dance, so I’d rather have a guitar and play chords. I’m a musician. There are some times when my arms go up or I’m singing a high note, the guys are playing in the back, covering it. I always introduce it as a guitar band with harmonies. I love the harmonies. “Never Release Me” — it’s a real rock song. I call it our drama rock song. “What A Feeling” was kind of like a — I don’t know? They wanted to have a different key. I started singing this falsetto. It took on a whole different feeling. We wrote that and we were opening for a lot of ’80s bands. Maybe there’s where the influence for that poppy kind of sound came from.
Sleaze Roxx: Funny you say that because the question I was going to ask about “What a Feeling” goes as follows, “It has a great feel to it. Dynamically the approach is very ’80s. What can you say about that song?”
Diane Adams: [Laughs]
Sleaze Roxx: You said it. You nailed it right there!
Diane Adams: Well, did I answer everything else?
Sleaze Roxx: That’s just so funny.
Diane Adams: I studied classical voice, so I protect my voice. I can sing very high. I can go way up with pushing the air. I try not to do that much because it really erodes your voice. When I did commercials it was always that Karen Carpenter, low voice or something similar. I used to work with a guy that owned KISS radio. I recorded with all kinds of folks. Earth, Wind & Fire. I was the Suzuki voice for years. As a musician, I was a working singer. I did a different route than performing live although the people I played with live, we all worked at this restaurant together when I was 20. One was Katey Sagal from Married With Children. We all sang together for about three years. Then I quit music for a long time. My husband was on the road. I was just in my business doing that. I just had no interest for a while. Then one of my friends said, “”Oh, let’s go to karaoke!” I said, “OK!” Then before I knew it, we were singing at all these karaoke places. Then she got a blues band and I said, “I guess I’ve got to get a blues band too!” Then I decided to produce the concert series.
I’m just kind of moving along and pushing it forward. I’m speaking to people like yourself. So we keep the project moving forward and some of my goals are just getting to the next shows and starting to book out with artists that we fit well with. I actually hired Ken Morton from Highwire Daze Magazine in January to help and be like a publicist. He’s a really kind, good person. Ken came out to review us, opening for Missing Persons. I met him and I wasn’t even thinking about interviews. I was into promoting shows and what not. When Ken wrote about us, he kind of got us and I thought, “That’s pretty cool!” He said, “You’ve pulled it together and there’s all kinds of special people in the band who’ve been lots of places. Seen lots of things.” I could see with his magazine that it was a really interesting concept. It is pretty localized. I encouraged him to get onto Issue, which is a way to be more international and be more visible to a lot of people that maybe don’t get that copy. I try to encourage him and I bought this double ad this month. I took our album cover and I put it all the way across the two pages. I also put the record stores we’re available in. He’s really turned into a nice friend. He’s out every night reviewing young bands, the popular bands, old bands etc. He’s good about trying to get other interviews for me and bringing in photographers. Anyways, I’ve enjoyed Ken a lot. He’s a good guy and I like his magazine.
Sleaze Roxx: I’m just looking at Highwire Daze Issue 124 and you’ve got a lot of ad in here. This is fantastic.
Diane Adams: Yeah, I put an ad on the main story.
Sleaze Roxx: Now are there actual printed copies of the magazine or strictly online?
Diane Adams: No, he prints them. He drops them off at all the little record stores. There are a few of those shops left. He drops them off at the Whisky. It’s information so he prints it and people can actually buy it online through Highwire Daze. Some people have bought it from foreign countries. I just sent our CD to somebody in Italy and UK. I didn’t know how to send it. The one went fine to you up in Canada, but it stops. I guess there is a different relationship in posting from the United States to Canada. I guess there is more of a good relationship. In the UK, it went into customs. It’s a commercial sample and I put thirty dollars. They wanted them to pay something. So I had to resend it.
Sleaze Roxx: They probably wanted them to pay duty on it.
Diane Adams: Yeah they do. I just didn’t know. So if I send it as a gift, then we’re fine. I’m hoping it goes through. We’re tracking it.
Sleaze Roxx: It’s funny, I bought ten to twelve albums on a site called Discogs. Out of those ten to twelve, one came in as having to pay duty. I don’t know how they do it.
Diane Adams: I don’t know how it works either. My post office here, they have no idea. There is no system. It’s almost like a miracle. It just gets there by a miracle and they have no details.
Sleaze Roxx: It’s almost like it you get the wrong person in customs who’s just having a bad day and he decides you’re paying the fee.
Diane Adams: We’re trying to figure it out. I’ve got a few ways to send over the music. I can give them a download card number and it can be used once or I can send a CD. In your line of questions, is there anything that you might want to ask?
Sleaze Roxx: You know, there was one thing that I should ask! Why is the band called ‘The Deductibles’?
Diane Adams: Because I’m in the insurance business. The back of my car says, ‘INS’, there’s a little star, then ‘ROX’! I’ve done really well in insurance. I have a website called ‘Insurance – Rox’. When I was doing my shows, Farmer’s was my title sponsor along with me. They were great. They gave me a bunch of money every month for the shows. It’s a billion dollar company and I just had to add them onto the shows. They had this huge budget and they had no limit, so I’d have money for each show and pay off the rest. Then they rethought their budget. So Diane & The Deductibles came around because when this all first started, I was just doing it for fun and trying to get a little blues band together. Farmer’s asked me if I would play at a convention. It was just kind of in a cocktail hour. We played all kinds of cover songs. That’s all I was doing at that time. I had a booth there because that’s all I was doing at the time. I’m a vendor for them. I am a direct writer to Farmer’s also. They had asked me to do that and we had kind of called ourselves, “Brazen Blues”, which was kind of a weird name. I just came up with something.
Then my husband, who’s always a jokester. He’s always funny. Everyday. He’s a very nice person. We’ve been together thirty years. He said, “Why don’t we just call it Diane & The Deductibles?” So it stuck! It was a joke. As it got a little further, I would tell my clients, “Come out and see the show! Diane & The Deductibles!” They’d laugh. The clients would come out to the shows and I’d comp them VIP. Unlimited alcohol and wine. There were really great chef hors d’oeuvres. Real upscale. This was all in this library theatre that I helped build with fundraising. You know, I like that kind of stuff. I like bigger events. I don’t mind doing it. So when I decided to do a concert series, it was no big deal. I said, “We’ll do it here!” It’s a gorgeous theatre.
We put up Farmer’s tents all over inside and that’s where the after-party would be. Everybody from the audience was invited, which is different. Some bands wouldn’t actually sign up for it because they didn’t really want to hang out for long. My thinking was that part of the deal was possibly these are people from the audience might want to support you in the future. It’s very important that I tell them that when everyone gets to the meet & greet, that there is somebody at the meet & greets besides us. While we were doing the meet & greet, we’d do these interviews. We’d take the Pro-Tools and we’d slice in interview pieces. They were all live interviews. They’d be interviewing in the theatre where the seats are. I treated them like kings and queens. Whatever they wanted for food. I got them everything they wanted on their riders. A lot of them don’t have riders, but so do. It was nice. I was taking care of these people. It was a lot of fun. It was a big party. A lot of the meet & greets start before the band starts. You get to come a little early, you get a picture with them and you get a little memorabilia. It’s all very sanitary. This is more of a hang.
Sleaze Roxx: I think we got everything. It’s been great to talk to you. Thank you very much Diane.
Diane & The Deductibles‘ “I Love You Babee” video:
A song written by Cliff and Diane on their first album titled “ONE”. Their 5 piece band is called “Diane & The Deductibles”. Directed by Natalie Lauren & Tyler Payne