M i k e R e n o
i n t e r v i e w


This interview was conducted before the untimely death of Loverboy bassist Scott Smith. It's an interveiw that unfortunately didn't get aired at the time, but is still highly relevent today. Hope you enjoy it. I hope to follow up the interview with some new comments from Mike shortly....

Thank you for calling Mike...
My pleasure.

That's great. I must confess, I'm a longtime fan - since about '85 I guess.
Yeah. Great.

How are things?
Things are great. Busy, working hard. Lots of concerts, you know, traveling around.

Loverboy have been on the road haven't they?

Who have you been touring with? Just yourselves?

OK. What do you see the recording status of Loverboy right now? Is there anything planned?
We just finished a live album. (Live, Loud & Loose - OUT NOW!)

Oh you've done that, great.
We just mixed it; it'll be out soon. Sony Records is handling it.

Oh, great!
We will be touring to go along with it, as usual, but we thought we'd try something that's interesting. We're going to play live just like the CD is recorded, so we're going to come bang right out of the box just like the CD. Just for fun. We've got about 80-100 shows; they just keep piling in. We've been having a lot of fun.
We just recorded a few new ballads. We wanted to record some ballads that we'd written, just to get them recorded. It was kind of fun, we had Phil Collen, the guitar player from Def Leppard, help us produce one of these songs and it turned out great. It was that Diane Warren composition, so it can't be all bad.

Wow. OK.
That just got finished, and maybe we'll place them in soundtracks or something.

Yeah, you guys have had a long history with soundtracks and you as solo as well haven't you?

It's a great medium to get a song out there, I think.
Sure it is.

OK. So you're back on Sony for the live album. Is that because they own the songs or are they just interested for a change?
They liked it. We'd run it past them a few times. We went out and recorded a bunch of stuff from the last few seasons on the road.
We sent it to them and they said, "You know what, this is a good idea." But then they wanted to try something different, of course, to throw a little bit of a pain in the ass back in there.
They said, "Instead of releasing this newly recorded live record, let's go back to the vault and find the old King Biscuit Flower Hour, Westwood One, Rockline type shows and release those." So we found those tapes in the vault and we spent 3 weeks mixing them. So we've got live from Dallas, live from Vancouver, live from Cleveland, live from Kansas. You know, a mixture of live from everywhere and a little story to go along with each song. Nina Blackwood from MTV fame, she did our biography on it, or our liner notes.

She talked about the '80s and stuff, so it was kind of a good package. I just OK'd the thing three days ago, I checked it all out, checked out the artwork, and said, "Just go to press."

Sounds interesting. Is there anything off the latest tour on there then, or is it all classic?
It's going to be classic.

We pushed to put a few new songs on it, and we had a meeting with the record company and the guy said, "If you want me to be perfectly candid with you, your new songs are going to get buried, because it's going to be sold as a live album with classic hits on it; nobody's going to push the new singles, so you're wasting your time. Let me just look around and find a soundtrack for the two new songs." Because they really like the new songs.

Oh good.
But they didn't want to waste it putting it on an album that won't be promoted as…you know, they won't send it to radio and they won't do the promotions on it.

Lazy bastards.

I saw your web site by the way.

Thank you. You did? Excellent.
I saw your web site through a friend of mine, Brad Gillis.

Oh Brad? Excellent!
A friend of his and a friend of mine. I was down in San Jose doing a show and we were hanging in my hotel room, and he says, "Pump this on," so I pumped your web site up and I went through the whole thing and I said, "This is great!" I get home 10 days later and my manager, Gail at the office, says "This guy wants to talk to you," and I said, "I know that web site!" It's a small world huh?

It is a small world. In fact, I've been trying on and off to get an interview probably for 12 months, but I guess I just struck it, last time I called, Gail wasn't working there or something and I kind of got the right channels this time I guess, so I'm really pleased.

<Mike talking to someone in the background: It picks up again. It picks up again on the other end of that area. No. Go up the street, past the school, take a left, go up through the stop sign and back around the other side. OK.>
Sorry about that.

No problem, no problem. So do you guys maybe do a studio album sometime soon?
We're looking forward to it. We've got some new songs and we've got the creative juices flowing.

Excellent. How did you perceive the success of Loverboy VI? Were you happy with that?

It got buried a little bit by CMC, or whatever, in the States?
Yeah, there's no hard feelings. What it is, is it's a small record company that kind of has a certain amount of exposure in a certain amount of area. They're very limited. We knew it going in, but we had all these songs that we'd recorded and we wanted to put them out. Sony wasn't interested at the time. Of course, Carlos Santana comes along and now Sony's interested in everything, right?

Yeah <laughs>.
They're just a bunch of fuckin' idiots. But the only thing is, they're our idiots, right? So you've gotta go with the flow.

They're a major label, they're all the same aren't they?
And consequently, we did what we did and we're proud of it; it's just something that's there and we move on and forward and sideways and wherever we move. Just keep movin' baby.

It was a different style, the rest of that catalog, wasn't it?
You know what we did? We just recorded a bunch of eclectic tracks and we had fun experimenting with things, and we did it all in-house just down the street at Paul Dean's house, and we just had a ball.

Awesome. I love "Big Picture" that's my favorite track. I think it's a smokin' track, great vocal to it.
Appreciate it.

I did hear rumors or a suggestion that you guys might do a box set either live or studio or both or unreleased or everything or…Has that been thought of?
Well we've just finished digging up some tracks from two different eras; from the Get Lucky era and from the Lovin' Every Minute Of It era. What these tracks are, are tracks that didn't, for some reason or another, didn't make the cut. And if you recall, back then they didn't want more than 10, 11 songs on an album because it would make the album sound too thin.

So a lot of times, we'd cut 16, 17 songs for these albums, and then we'd pick from…get the top 10 or top 11 songs. Well, what Sony wanted, and we just finished getting, for those 2 eras that I mentioned, the Get Lucky and the Lovin' Every Minute of It, we found tracks that didn't make the cut for those various reasons, and we're remastering them, and they're going to be re-releasing Get Lucky and Lovin' Every Minute Of It with maybe 3, 4 new tracks on each CD.

Sony's going to do that?

Killer. I'd love to get that. I've got the old CD's but they could use remastering. You know what I'm a big fan of is your…not the official big remastered Best Of album you did, but the Big Ones you did from earlier, the three Bob Rock tracks.

They were a killer sound, a big sound.
Yeah, thank you man. That was a lot of fun doing that.

It sounds like you were having fun actually, kind of loose and rocking.
Well we went back in to Little Mountain Sounds, the infamous little studio that started it all for us, and we went in with Bob Rock and Mike Frazier and all these guys we work with, and they've all gone on to become super-huge producers in their own right, and we had fun.

Did those three tracks get a little lost, you think?
Absolutely. They got totally lost. It's the old same old, same old.
What do you do when you live in a shoe, huh?

<laughs> Employ a record label, I don't know.
You just go for it and you hope everybody does the right thing. Nine times out of ten, somebody drops the ball. I don't harbor any grudges or keep clinging on too much to negativity; just let it go, if it happens it happens if it doesn't, oh what the fuck.

That's what you've gotta do, I think.

Yeah, otherwise you'd kill yourself almost wouldn't you?

You know what I've got a rough copy of here, it's not A grade, but it's not bad either, it's a copy of your as yet unreleased solo album from…I don't even know when your recorded it. When did you record this one?

Is it that old?
And, I'm trying to find out how people get copies of the goddamn thing; it's driving me crazy because I just got the tapes back from Sony who said they couldn't find them, and when we were gathering tapes from the archives to remix these live broadcasts, the archivist did me a favor and looked around for my solo album and he found the tapes, which they said they had lost. So now I have those tapes back and I'm just in the process of remixing it and putting in some better sounding drums and things.

OK. So you're still working on it; that's great.
It's a work in progress, and I will probably be putting it out on this company I'm involved with right now called Rockforever.com.

We're setting up to do MP3 downloads and we do as of now…it's a little thing I do on the side, with a bunch of my singer friends from The Cars and Survivor and John Cafferty.

Right! I was just recently talking to Jimi....
Yeah, well, did he talk to you about that Voices of Classic Rock thing we're doing?

We just do stuff that's private and it's usually involved with corporations or the Army bases of America all over the world, and/or things that usually surround fun stuff like we'll go golfing for a few days, play a concert and it's with Ben Orr from the Cars, Mickey Thomas from Starship, Mike Reno, John Cafferty, Jimi Jamison.

Mickey Thomas is a particular favorite of mine.
Yep. I'll see him tomorrow.

Oh really? Tell him to make a solo record already.
OK. Will do.

<laughs>. He's a great singer.
Yeah, he is.

This is a very classic solo album, I must say.
You like it?

I love it.
I should put it out then?

Oh, absolutely, yeah.
How did you get it, just out of curiosity?

Well, when we formed this company Rockforever.com, I decided that might be a better place for it so I kind of cut all ties thinking that maybe this might be a better place for it, and since I've done that they've given me a bunch to remix it and remaster it so I'm going for it.

I know MTM was interested at one stage, are they not part of it anymore?
Not so far. So far it didn't work out that way.

OK. I'm sure they'd still be keen to release it though. It's a great album.
Some guy in Statton Island was printing copies off and selling them on the web.

Oh shit, really?
And it's really hard to track this guy down because it's all postbox and stuff.

Statton Island, OK.
It was a Statton Island post office box. It was Vinnie Carmosy or something, I don't know. It was an Italian name, but his first name was Vinnie, I know that for sure. From looking in the files I can remember that much.

If I hear anything, I can pass it on I guess!
I just find it a little unfair that some guy can beat you to the gun on your own music.

Oh sure, absolutely. That's why when I got a copy of this I kept it to myself!
What song should I release as my first single?

Well. Let me see. "Still in Love" is such a huge ballad, which is fantastic. But I really like "Take Me Back" though. That's a fantastic track. And "Affection" is obviously a killer rock radio song I would think.
Yeah. I agree with you on all three of those.
"New Messiah" kind of catches you off guard, but it's pretty weird.

It is actually....it's different. Absolutely different, and "Guilty As Charged" is a good up-tempo track. "I Say Go Again" is another good value track.
I guess I should release it.

Yeah. Absolutely. I think you'll get a great response from it personally.
Yeah. I was recently in Japan and Korea.

OK. What were you doing down there?
We were doing shows for the U.S. Army bases, for the, once again it was The Voices of Classic Rock.

Oh really?
We were hired to play a series of Army bases in Japan and Korea. We were over there for eight days.

Oh, wow. Damn, I wish you had an Army base down here. You could fly over… <laughs> That's a great collection of voices you wouldn't see in your average day concert is it?
You know what, it's really a fun thing to play because you get to hear all the singers singing their hit songs and the band doesn't change; it's Mickey Thomas's band. He's got a cookin' band, right?

So it's one band playing all the music and the singers change. You get 3-4 songs from one guy, then the next guy comes up and so on and so forth, so it makes for a real fun night.

Damn, that would be….You should record that.
Well, we do uplinks, so if you want to keep on track of that, try to get Rockforever.com up on your computer and just follow it a little bit. I know we're doing a show pretty soon. I think it would be half a week past Easter Sunday from Euro-Disney; it's going to be a live uplink.

Oh. Wow.
That'll be with Rockforever.com, and I think it's be sponsored by Yahoo! and/or one of those companies like that, or maybe even a company called, oh gee I'm trying to think because we just did a big concert for this corporation, all these young geeky looking guys from these computer companies, they're all billionaires and they hire us to come down and play concerts for them. Oh, Pulver, pulver.com.

Pulver.com. You can find out about it from either that or…

I'll give you a huge plug on my site, you'll probably get some extra traffic through there.
Yeah, so the company that we formed, all the partners, and all the band mates that I told you that I was singing with…we all formed a little company so we can release new songs and we don't need a record company and kiss their ass.
We can release new songs and we can uplink live concerts all over the world, and we can have chat lines, and special events and things. So that's at Rockforever.com. And, that's going to be a good thing for us, because we can almost feel like we're in control of our own destiny a little more so than we have been in the past.

Hey look, whatever my site can do, please let me know...
That's a fantastic site you've got.

Thank you. Great.
Get the challenge going. All these corporations that want to have staff parties. Put the challenge out. Bring Loverboy over.

Fantastic. I'd love to see it. That'd be great. Tell me, I must ask you while I'm here, I'm a big fan of the Just-If-I album.
That was…when did you record that? That must've been '92 or something.
Yeah, '92-'93. It's tough to remember exactly, because I do things for the love of the art. I don't necessarily get locked into what the hell it was and when it was.

Yeah, it was such a small label wasn't it?
Well what it was, was there was a bunch of guys that got together for recording's sake and then put it out and then we never really found a label, we just found some people in town that wanted to run with it a little bit.
We let them run with it, but it was very limited. But one of the songs, "Cindy's Song", actually ended up being on a Movie of the Week thing over here and it got a lot of attention.

OK. There's some really pretty deep songs on there wasn't there?
Yeah, it was pretty cool.

Yeah, it was a side step for you I thought.
Well, that happens. You work a certain venue all your whole life and you really have fun if you get to go out of it a little bit.

Was it good fun working with Neal Schon?
Yeah it was. It's always fun working with him. He's a high energy guy, you know. A really great musician. A good friend. He's touring with Journey again.....

He is indeed.
I was actually working in a CD store in Canada when Just-If-I came out and I nearly fell over when I saw it. Otherwise, I don't think I ever would've heard of it.
What part of Canada were you working in?

I was in Toronto.
Oh yeah.

You're in Vancouver, right?

Unfortunately, you guys didn't tour there that summer.
I guess not. We used to play the CNE quite a bit, but it kind of died down. We were at the Juno awards this year.

Oh really?
For a tribute to Bruce Fairbairn who passed away untimely.

Yeah, that was sad.
And his wife... they were inducting him into the Hall of Fame, posthumously.
And his family was asked to come out and receive the award. And she asked if Loverboy would give the award rather than the person they had chosen. For some reason, even though we've won more Juno's than anybody else in one year, I think they harbor some kind of grudge; I think it's because we like to tell jokes and go off the script.

<laughs> You know you can't go off the script on awards shows.
Piss on them, I say.

<laughs> Good idea. You've had a lot of solo stuff yourself, not only…well you haven't had a solo album have you, but you've had Just.if.i and several soundtrack tunes, there's almost enough there for you to do a solo sort of collection, best of, yourself.
OK, I'll do it.

Yeah! <laughs>
Send me the budget, and I'll get it done for you.

Yeah, I wish.
See how it works?

Absolutely. You'd like to do something like that?
You know what? All I do is sing, tour, and write. Nothing's changed for me. What's changed is the record business because all the old guys have retired and all the young guys are trying to find new bands.
We get left in the lurch; nobody gives a shit about us, so it's really a tough situation. Hence, I feel…that's why I feel so happy about having the Rockforever.com thing in place because it's giving me the chance to do whatever I want. And sure as shit, if it starts to catch on, record companies will come up and say, "Gee, we really love you. We were wondering if we could make some money off of you."
You know how they are; they're just a bunch of fuckin' idiots. I don't know what else to say, because it's the truth. I have very little use for these pigs; however, there's no hard feelings.

<laughs> I do like that. Can I ask you about a couple of other songs that you've sung?

How did you get involved with the David Foster album, the track, "All I Ever Needed"?
That's a song that's going to end up on my solo album.

Oh really?
I have a version of it with me and David writing the song. Just him at the piano and me on vocals. It's killer.

It is a killer song. Yeah.
He asked me to come down to do the backing tracks for his solo album. And while we were there, he asked me to come over early one day and see if we couldn't write a song and that night I had a dream. I dreamt all the lyrics and I woke up and wrote them down and I hummed into my tape recorder the melody. And I went over and he said, "Do you have any idea what we can do?" and I started him off on this thing. And he started playing it and it developed in about an hour into that song.

That's a killer song. So you're going to add that to the solo album?

That makes the solo album even more amazing.
I got the OK on that one, because it was a 50/50 co-write, so it's OK for me to go ahead and put that on; I talked to Foster about it.

That was a cool fun thing, because we were recording down in his Malibu place and some of the other singers that were there were Bill Champlin from Chicago and a couple of girls, and we were just doing the backing tracks and having fun. You know, singing a few songs and then standing outside and soaking in the sun. It was really awesome. That was a fun trip.

It sounds hard!
Well it's not hard when you're with all those pros, you know. You start singing and WHAM.

Absolutely. Another track I love is the Dream a Little Dream track, "Whenever There's a Night".
I forgot about that one!

Yeah, that's another killer ballad eh?
I should put that one on the solo album too.

Oh yeah.
<starts singing: Whenever there's a night I need love …>

I must say, that is one of my all-time favorite ballads.
Really? What is it on? How do you get that? I don't even know where that is.

I actually got it when I toured the States from a second-hand store. I finally got the CD of it from a cut-out bin or something.
I'd love to get a copy of that one.

The Dream a Little Dream soundtrack? Do you want me to burn off a copy for you?
That would be awesome!

Yeah. I can do that.
That would be awesome.

Give me your mailing address Mike, and I'll burn one off for you.
<Mike gives his address>

That would be awesome dude.

Easily done. No worries at all. That's just such a great track. The other one that's a favorite of mine, is from Iron Eagle, "Chasing the Angels".
I forgot about that one too.

Did you really? <laughs> Yeah, that's a big rocker.
Oh that is a big…oh just hang on half a second <pause>

The kids are just running in from school and I have to let them know that mom is not home

Very cool.
<To his kids: Hey, mom's not home and I'm on the phone, so you guys just come in and settle down, get something to eat if you want.....I don't know, we've got company> <to Andrew: my brother's here>.

Oh really.
We've got three kids.

When Uncle Steve shows up, everybody likes to Rock and Roll.

Oh Party Time?
Well, kid's party time, you know.

Jumping on Uncle Steve.

Keeping you busy.
Oh yeah.

Yeah, I've been to Vancouver, just for a week; I enjoyed it a lot.
We're getting the early summer here, it's like 80 degrees and sunny and beautiful out.
What part of Australia are you in?

I'm in Hobart, Tasmania believe it or not.
You're in Tazmania down by the devil.

Yeah, with the devil, that's right <laughs>
How do you get over there? Do you take a ferry?

Ferry and fly, yeah.
It's got to be pretty over there.

Well, that's about all I had for you I think Mike.
Well, if you plop me a line on the e-mail I gave you once in a while, I'll fill you in on some of the latest.

That'd be great, and I'll continue to plug and look for Rockforever.com and see if I can send some people your way.
I appreciate it.

I will burn off a couple of tracks and send them to you, I guess.
You are awesome.

A pleasure, a pleasure. Absolutely anything I can do. And I expect to see this solo album released shortly. <laughs>
Right on.

All right. That's great. Thanks Mike.
All right Andrew.

Good talking to you.
Nice talking to you.

You too. Take care.
Bye now.

Say hi to Mickey for me.
Will do.

Thanks mate.
Bye now.

Bye, bye.