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TM - Hi, This is Elizabeth and Amelia from Twinmusix and we are here with Stevie from Tuff. Thank you for having this interview with us today, we really appreciate it.
ST - Thank you for having me.
TM - What are you most looking forward to doing in Australia?
ST - Playing the shows. I have been to Australia one time previously, about 15 years ago, around 2007. Just getting the chance to return and play a couple of more cities. Last time I played Melbourne and Sydney and this time I’m playing Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. I also get to bring my full band, last time I got to play with a local Australian band.
TM - That's cool. Who was the band you played with last time?
ST - The band, The Dead Things, with the singer Julez. He also played with a band called White Widow, he's from Melbourne and he is pretty well known in the Melbourne music circuit. His band was my backup band.
TM - That is so cool, I hope you have a good time this time in Australia. What can fans expect from your Australian tour?
ST - Well we are part of the first Australian glam fest and they are bringing in a bunch of bands. They are bringing in Tuff, Faster Pussycat, and Pretty Boy Floyd and all of us are from the Sunset Strip, we played out there. Obviously, Enuff Z'Nuff is from Chicago and then you have Wednesday 13 and the Murderdolls and then you have Eclipse that are from Sweden. When touring with a group of bands you know going from city to city it’s definitely challenging but it also makes for a fun time. A lot of times we will do a festival like this and it will just be for one day or a weekend in one city but this will be 4 shows in 4 different cities. It's always cool to play for fans but it's more of a thrill, at least for me, when I'm somewhere else, meaning a foreign country. I have played all over the United States a lot of times but getting the chance to go to South America, Europe or Australia, it's a thrill. I mean growing up in the classroom and looking at a globe and realising, ok here we are we are in the United States and this is where I live in the Midwest. I grew up in Wisconsin so you know going to California as a kid was a fantasy. I never dreamed of going to Australia to play but here I am many years later getting to return and see Australia again and I am thrilled about that.
TM - Have you done Japan yet?
ST - Playing Japan is on my bucket list. I have been in 29 countries and played in about 25 of them but I have never been anywhere in Asia. Next month in February, I will be going to Asia and playing in Bangkok. Japan is up there on my list, not only to visit for the experience but also for the culture, food and to see Japan and Tokyo. To play there would also be awesome but I haven't done that one yet.
TM - You haven't been to Adelaide or Brisbane yet and you are also coming to Sydney and Melbourne. What are you most looking forward to seeing?
ST- I remember going to Sydney before and seeing the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. The last visit was great but I know we are going to have limited time in each city. That's one thing that people don't always understand, when you go on tour and play in a different city every day, which we are going to be doing on this trip. We will get into Brisbane on a Tuesday so we will have a little time in Brisbane on Tuesday and early Wednesday. Then Thursday morning we will need to be early at the airport to fly to Melbourne. Then on Friday morning, we will be at the airport early to fly to Adelaide and on Saturday morning we will be at the airport early to fly to Sydney and on Sunday at noon we will be at the airport early to fly to Los Angeles. For most of the cities, we will be in the city for less than 24 hours, when you take away from the gig, the sound check, the load in, sleep, waking up, taking a shower and eating there is literally only a couple of hours in the day that we would have free time. Whatever is in a reasonable distance from the hotel, shops or eateries or whatever, that's all about what we would really have the time to do. Sightseeing or going to visit places would be next to impossible we have a busy schedule and that applies to most bands on tour especially when you're bouncing around. Even in the United States, you don't have a lot of time in each city so you can't play sightseer.
TM - What can fans expect from your setlist?
ST - Well it will be heavy. On our debut record called ‘What Comes Around Goes Around,’ we will play about 5 or 6 songs from that record. Then our follow-up record was called ‘Religious Fix’. We will play a couple of songs from that record and then we will play our single called ‘American Hair Band’ which was on a compilation record called The History of Tuff. We will play that song, then we have an old compilation record from Sound City and Sunset Sound that had some of our early demos on it. We are going to play possibly one or two songs off of that which was called ‘The Glam Years’. So we will play about 10 songs and it will be from 4 different records, most of it though will be from ‘What Comes Around Goes Around’ which was our debut and had a top 10 MTV music video and a couple of other singles most die-hard fans would know. The album ‘The Best Me’ we will play probably 5 or 6 songs from that record.
TM - You also remastered What Goes Around Comes Around, so that's pretty cool.
ST - Yeah they licensed it from Rhino Music to Warner Entertainment for the 30th Anniversary. They licensed it, remastered it and reissued it with a gatefold and coloured vinyl and a deluxe CD version with a big booklet as well as other kinds of rare photos with our photoshoot from that record. It came out a couple of years ago in 2021 for the 30th anniversary and it's been a big hit. People really like it, the fans like the old stuff and they like the repackage. We did it at a bit more fancier then Atlantic Records did back in the day though, which made it worth the while.
TM - If you could have any band play one of your songs what band would it be what song and in your style or their style?
ST - That's an interesting question. I like a lot of new wave and punk bands from the early 80s. When I was first getting into music, before I really started singing, I really liked the band Devo. I would make the band Devo and a song off ‘What Goes Around Comes Around’. We have a metal anthem that is very popular called ‘Good Guys Wear Black’. It's kind of a heavy metal anthem and to hear Devo do that in the techno new wave synthesiser sound, I think would be kind of cool. They could maybe change it to Good Guys Wear Hats and wear those red hats.
TM - That would be cool. So what is your favourite memory of watching someone else perform live, can you tell us a story?
ST - I will say some of my early concert experiences were in the mid-80s. I went and saw Judas Priest play, probably around 1984. The opening band was called Great White and during their set the police came out on stage and they stopped the show. The bands seemed kind of shocked but the police walked up on stage and said “We need everybody to leave the arena, there is a tornado coming”.
TM - Oh no.
ST - This was in Madison, Wisconsin and the band initially started saying “F**k, we don't want to go”. The fans weren't running out either and the police pointed to the ceiling. There were all the heavy PA and lights, they were saying if the tornado hits the building then all the stuff could fall down on top of you. Everybody scrambled out, and the arena pretty much cleared into the foyers and out of the middle of the arena. About 30-40 minutes after the tornado had passed they let everybody back in but they didn't let Great White finish their set. Judas Priest took the stage and after the first few songs during the first break, Rob Halford said with his English accent “Ain’t no f****n tornado is going to stop the priest”. The whole place roared and they went into another song. I vividly remember him saying that and it was an interesting night for sure.
TM - What was the first concert you ever saw?
ST - The first concert I ever went to was KISS on the Lick It Up tour in February of 1984. I was 17 at the time and the opening band was Heaven and then Vandenberg. KISS came out, this was after they had taken their makeup off, at the time they were probably in their thirties opposed to being in their twenties. I thought the concert was cool and I really liked it. A couple of weeks later I went to see Ozzy Osbourne on the Bark At The Moon Tour, the opening band was called Motley Crue. On their Shout at the Devil Tour, Motley Crue coming out and playing their set as the opener to Ozzy Osbourne is absolutely without a doubt 100% the reason I am talking to you right now. After their set 30-40 minutes later the rest of the night happened and I watched Ozzy Osbourne. I went home and I was obsessed with Motley Crue and I said “I am going to be a singer and I am going to join a band. I want to get a record deal and I want to go on tour. I want to be on MTV and I want to be on a tour bus and I want to be in magazines. I am going to do that”. I set my sights, I went forward and here I am.
TM - Then you got a flyer seeing that Tuff was looking for a singer.
ST - The Motley Crue/Ozzy Osbourne Show was in ‘84, then in late May or June in ‘87, 3 years later, I had been playing around Wisconsin in a couple of bands but I found out Tuff was looking for a singer from a friend of mine who had visited LA. He came home and had the flyers from all the bands on this strip and one of them was a Tuff Flyer. They were looking for a lead singer and that was my opportunity. I said “Ok, I am going to go to LA and I am going to meet this band, that is my gig”. I did it and I got the gig.
TM - You moved on a whim, hoping it would work and it did. That is awesome.
ST - Not only did I move on a whim, but I also got the flyer on a Friday and I made the decision on the Saturday. I moved out of the apartment I was living in with a couple of girls over the weekend and on Monday I bought a one-way flight. I left for California on Thursday, Wisconsin to California is 2500 miles so I flew to LA. I got there six days later on June 25th. I put a call into the band and they called me a couple of days later. I met with them and then about a week and a half later I auditioned and they gave me the gig. I was in LA for not even two weeks when I got the audition and then they said “Ok, you are the guy”.
TM - That is really inspiring. It shows if you want something, you can do it.
ST - Yeah, a lot of my friends thought it was crazy that I only bought a one-way ticket or that I moved out of my apartment and quit my job. I was very determined, I was very focused and I was very tenacious. I was not taking no for an answer.
TM - Well that's awesome that you never gave up. Is there anything else you would like to say to your fans?
ST - I am excited to come back to Australia. I played there 15-16 years ago but I played with the local guys and this time I get to bring my whole band. I'm also glad that Todd the original bass player and myself are the two original guys, our guitarist Billy and bass guitarist Todd have never been to Australia. The drummer and I have been to Australia and I'm excited for them because they haven't been there. I am thrilled to meet the Australian fans, guys and girls, older and younger. Whether it's at the hotel, backstage or shaking hands from the stage. It's always a thrill to go to a different city or the States but it's always more of a thrill to go to a different part of the world.
TM - Thank you for having this interview with us today. We really appreciate it.
ST - Thank you, see you in Australia
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