TMR: Hey man, I really appreciate you making time to talk with me today.
TH: Yeah, don’t worry about that. I make time for anybody.
TMR: The thing that made me want to cover the band like this was that I saw the band in 2012 when you guys opened up for Maiden, and then again this year when you opened for Crue. You guys came off as so much more than just a backing band. You were up front and rocking, and very much a part of the show.
TH: That’s because of Alice. He wants you to, and lets you be part of the show, you know what I mean? Cause I always look at it this way, when you play in Alice Cooper it’s all about Alice Cooper and we are all just fixtures in the show. We’re all just props, and he gets to use us all at the same time.
TMR: How long have you been playing with Alice?
TH: I’ve been working with Alice for probably five or six years now and I’ve been playing with him since …maybe, this is my fourth year now.
TMR: It seems like the band has a tight relationship. On stage you guys are tight and in synch, but even off stage it seems like you guys are close. Through social media and stuff it seems like you guys get along really well when you’re not playing too. What do you attribute that too?
TH: The thing is, when you’re on the road with people you get to learn, and as you get older too, I think, you just get patience. You just have to learn how to have patience, and personalities and stuff like that, and learn how to just let shit go. I really do love everyone in this band. We talk always when we’re not on tour. We’re working with each other when we’re not on tour. So there’s always communication. It’s not like when the tour is over we’re like, “Alright, I’ll see you later. Goodbye.” There will probably be a week or two where you just go off the grid and you don’t want to talk to anybody. It is family and Alice is on the road, and Sheryl (Cooper’s wife). Everyone in the band, and in the organization, people have been working in this for thirty-five years, some of them. So it’s not like one of those quick turn arounds. When you’re in Alice Cooper, it’s like you’re in Alice Cooper. You either quit, and it’s very rare you ever get fired…unless you do something really, really bad. It’s a great gig. And Alice is like the easiest guy to ever be in a band with. That’s the other reason why, he makes it easy for everyone. This guy works harder that anybody I know on stage. I don’t know how he does it sometimes, but I just look at him, I think this guy just runs over kids like Justin Bieber and all these people. Just like performer wise, this guy crushes everybody.
TMR: I’ll be honest, I will be out and have my Crue t-shirt on and people will talk to me about the show. Almost every time, people think that Alice stole the show from Motley.
TH: You know, in all fairness to Motley Crue… I’ve been a Motley Crue fan since the first record came out…the “Too Fast For Love” record on Leather records, I think a lot of people judge Vince really unfairly sometimes. Sometimes the comments…do you guys really have to be like that? You know what? They guy is up there, he’s singing, he’s doing his thing regardless of what he looks like, what his weight’s like. The original band’s back together….I give those guys all the credit. Mick Mars…that’s another guy, that guy kills it every night. He’s one of my favorite guitar players. Him, Ace Frehley, Leslie West, Pete Townshend, Angus Young…those are my guys that I look up to.
TMR: Talking about guitars, how do you like playing in a three guitar band?
TH: When you first do it, you’re like, do we really need three fuckin’ guitar players? I can just imagine, cause you know everybody just loves to hate everything, what are they doing with three guitar players? The things is, if you work out the parts right, cause me and Ryan (Roxie) sat down when he first originally did it with Steve Hunter and Damon Johnson. I learned so much from Steve Hunter. That’s another guy who is just one of my favorite guitar players. He’s an incredible guitar player and he taught me so many things when I first joined this band. We sat down and dissected all of the parts. Because there’s so much layering on records sometimes, when you have three guitar players it gives you that option….that opportunity to enhance those parts that normally you can’t play live because you only have two guys. With me, Ryan and Nita, and the same thing with Ryan, myself and Ori (Orianthi), we worked it out. We’re never really playing the same parts all the time. If we are playing the same chords we’re playing them in different versions. We’re just playing a different thing, that’s one thing we worked out. With Nita that came out great, she just fit right in.
TMR: Even though she’s a diehard Seahawks fan and you’re a Jet’s fan?
TH: She’s more into sports than I am. I look at it this way, if the Jet’s win I’ll be shockingly surprised. If they don’t win, it doesn’t ruin my day. But Nita, if the Seahawks lose, forget about it…she’s crushed. Chuck’s a die-hard Pittsburg fan, and Ryan’s a die-hard Oakland raiders fan. And Glen, he just doesn’t care about anything but drums. (laughs)
TMR: One thing you alluded to is that when you guys are not doing Cooper, you still work together. I know that you worked on Ryan’s record, “The AmeriSwede E.P.”
TH: Yeah, I actually mixed it for him.
TMR: And did you worked on the Beasto Blanco record?
TH: Yah, I actually engineered and produced it. I co-wrote a couple of songs on it with Chuck. We’re going to do another one pretty soon. That’s what I do when I’m not working with Alice. I’m engineering, producing or writing for other artists. I do a lot of the co-producing with Bob Ezrin on the Alice Cooper stuff.
TMR: I listened to that Beasto Blanco record and was blown away by it. When I talked to Chuck, he said you were instrumental in giving it that sound that it has. That record is killer start to finish.
TH: It came out great, and Chuck’s voice…you know what I mean? I just love that voice where its like, ughhhh. I just love it. He’s an under rated guy. He needs to get a lot more credit than people give him. He’s been in this band for almost thirteen years. He’s been in this band longer than the original guys.
TMR: Oh yeah, he busts his ass out on the stage…
TH: He’s great! He’s a great performer; he’s a great singer… That’s just the thing… a lot of people don’t know that stuff about this band. Every one of us writes our own songs, does our own thing, and then we play with Cooper. We’re all singing up there, there are no tapes. The only tapes you hear are just samples on this fucking sampler that’s like thirty years old. For the intro on Frankenstein, or Hey Stoopid, we’ll just hit those things to give us a break. The show never stops, so we have to have a break…like a second to grab a guitar to stay in tune. That the only time you’ll hear any pre-recorded shit. It’s on an intro because we’re tuning or getting another guitar and it’s on some sampler that’s from 1980.
TMR: One more Alice question and then we’ll move on to some other stuff. Did you have anything to do with the covers record that will be coming out in 2015?
TH: Yeah, I’m co-producing with Bob Ezrin and this guy Bruce Whitkin also. Bruce is one of Johnny’s guys. That record is just sounding phenomenal. I can’t wait for people to hear it because it’s got so many huge guests on it. The thing is, we’ve been recording this record for like two and a half years now almost. This covers record has been way before anyone else’s cover record. So all these other cover records that just came out, we’ve been doing it before them…but whatever.
TMR: That’s alright cause you guys will just blow away all the others.
TH: I don’t even look at it as blowing away. It’s hard to blow away a guy like Paul McCartney or Dave Grohl. It will be another one of those records that people go out there and listen to and really dig because Alice sounds great on it and the band sounds great on it and all the other various special guests. It’s going to be great. And Johnny Depp fucking sounds amazing on it!
TMR: What tune is he playing on?
TH: He’s playing on everything. He’s playing guitar.
TMR: Let’s get away from Alice Cooper for a while. Your resume is impressive. You’ve played with people like Lady Gaga, Halestorm, David Cook and Daughtery. Man, how do you do it?
TH: The thing is, from writing to producing, sometimes you get a cut on a record and sometimes you don’t, but you’re always working with these people. And I just love to sit down and write songs, just get in a room and write. That’s what I love to do, just make music. I’ve been fortunate enough to get in rooms with these people and it’s been cool. It gives me time to do my own stuff too. I haven’t made a record in like fifteen years. I haven’t been inspired. I just got inspired when I moved to Switzerland. I was like you know what? I think it’s time to write a record again. I have this extra spare room so I started writing to see what I could come up with. Then I came up with my first song and I thought this will be cool if….because I love electronic music and I love pop music. I’m not some rock and heavy metal guy. Everyone thinks, don’t get me wrong because I love rock and metal, but I love everything. I listen to everything. I grew up on punk. I played Heebee Jeebees when I was fourteen years old. They were telling me I was too young then (laughs).
TMR: Let’s get into it and talk about the record. I know that the video for “Give ‘em Hell” came out. When does the record itself come out?
TH: the record comes out…I have this label in Switzerland called K-tel records, which has been around from the ‘70’s. You know those commercials when you were a kid for K-tel records and tapes? They were the first compilation record company. They’re still around believe it or not. They’re based out of Switzerland. I was producing this band and the guy who runs the label says to me, “Tell me, do you make music?” I said, “Yeah.” He says, “I would like to put out a record of yours.” So I was like I’ll work on it now. It’s coming out in Switzerland, and then it’s going to be in Germany on Rough Trade, and then Austria. So, it’s going to come out in three territories right now at the moment. The record will probably come out….like I said, I’m not in a rush to put it out. I haven’t had a record out in years, and I would rather build it up slowly. So the record itself, you can get it through Ryan in the parking lot, or e-mail me on Facebook. I’ve just been doing it like that. I don’t want to put it on iTunes yet because I want to see what happens over in Europe first. If I can get some heat and get on the radio over there and do some touring…then we’ll see what happens. Then I’ll release it here. But for now, I am just going to release it there. I am thinking maybe it will come out in January. But the single will be available on October 31st. That the thing…the single, that’s the most pop thing and obvious song that the label wanted to release over in Switzerland. So I was like, cool. So I made a video where I just had my nephew’s friend, this kid from New York, I just flew him in. I just gave him a camera and had him follow me around Switzerland. That’s kind of the video. We just set it up gorilla style, kind of like “Streets of Philadelphia” and “Bittersweet Symphony.” It’s all real, none of it’s staged. That’s all me going alright, let’s just sit down in the middle of a restaurant and start singing and see what people do.
TMR: I know that this current tour runs through the end of November and then you get a break. What is 2015 looking like for you? Will you be touring with Alice, working with some other artists or doing your own thing?
TH: Dude, I have a couple of things that I’m going to be doing. I can’t say one of them right now because it’s in the working stages, but it’s going to be great. Then the other thing….I just did this “Project Rock” record. I just produced that for Keri Kelly. Tim “The Ripper” Owens, James Kottack, Rudy Sarzo and Teddy “Zig Zag.” I just produced that whole record and that’s coming out next year. That record came out great also. I did that on my break. It’s a really good rock record.
TMR: What about Alice? Will you guys be touring on the covers record?
TH: I’ll find out about that. That’s one of those things that I have no idea yet. It’s like I learn shit on the internet (laughs). I’m like, oh we’re doing this? (laughs). I don’t know, but we’ll find out. I know we’ll be doing some other stuff with Cooper and working on various things…just keep on working, you know what I mean? My motto is keep moving or die. Like Cooper, this guy doesn’t stand still for a minute. And life’s short. I just want to do as many things as I can and also be the best dad I can be in the world. I just had a baby. I want to be the best husband I can be, and the best dad. That’s what I strive for.