For the first time in fifteen years Philly natives Britny Fox will play their home town on November 14TH at the T.L.A. on South St. opening for Heavens Edge. Also scheduled to perform is Hammerdown and Cyanide Saints. With all four bands on the bill being from the Philly area, and given the fact the last time Heavens Edge played Philadelphia they sold out World Cafe Live in November of 2013 this really is a home grown event and it is also another reason to get your tickets before they are gone.
I had a chance to speak with Drummer Johnny Dee about the upcoming show, Doro, Britny Fox and a few other bands he is in check it out below
Dante: First I wanted to ask about Doro and your crowd funding campaign for the video Loves Gone To Hell?
Johnny Dee: We are in writing mode for the new record. Pretty much how it goes down is Doro will work with a few people who she has worked with over the years that she is comfortable with and mean while the band is kind of writing and individually we are submitting riffs and ideas. It all just kind of gets put in a pot and stirred around. But Doro came up with something that she really dug, a new song called Loves Gone To Hell. She also did commercial for a office supply company in Germany and she hit it off with the guys who shot and directed the commercial. They suggested a crowd funding campaign to do our next video. And we did one day of filming and we were all happy with it and she loved it and she put it out there and we are hoping to get some fan support. We are not asking for money and not giving anything in return. There are some great perks and give a ways. You are basically investing in the band. I know some people can’t afford to give money to a band and we understand that and you don’t have to. But some people might find it kind of cool to have a concert in their living room or lifetime passes to all future shows. We figured we would give it a try and see what happens. All of this is new to us and the biggest thing is she felt so strong about this song she wants to make this video super special.
Dante: What brought Britny Fox back together?
Johnny Dee: There have been a few attempts to get Britny Fox back together. I always felt like the band should be doing something. How much longer can you wait for something to happen when it seems like it is just never going too. So the closest we could get to making anything happen was Tommy, Billy and myself agreeing on doing it and the possibility of making some new music and sort of continuing the Bite Down Hard era of the band. That’s were we stand at this point.
Dante: Even if you don’t put out any new music, there is no reason why you guys can’t play a few shows a year. There are a number of bands out there that do that now.
Johnny Dee: Yeah that’s another reason why we decided to get together and give it a try. There are more opportunities out there for our type of band. When we got back together back in 2000 with Tommy we did a live album and we did about ten shows around the east coast and then we said “were do we go from here”. Then we fell back into that old problem, How do we get from Philly to Chicago for the next well paid gig. We would have to play some shit hole in Ohio and another shit hole some where else on a weeknight driving around America in a van killing ourselves just to promote the band was back together again. There really was not any festivals or choice gigs that you would hope for to put the band in a better situation. So we decided to just stop again because we could not facilitate a proper tour.
Now there has been a few years of bands getting out there and doing these things. There are the 80s festivals and the Monsters Of Rock cruises and the casino gigs and the package tours and stuff like that. We just felt the band not being out there in any formation was just a shame. Not only for us but for the fans as well. I have been traveling around the would with Doro for the last 22 years and I have been hearing about it and signing a bunch of Britny Fox stuff and fans everywhere keep asking when we are going to do something. I think fans deserve to hear the music and enjoy that stuff. I think that’s why any band continues to go on.
Dante: Some times I feel stupid asking questions that seemed canned but…What can the fans expect when they come to the show on November 14TH at the T.L.A.? I expect a fun fucking night, not just because of the bands but because of the fans. People I have not seen in a long time will be there, it will be like a high school reunion and I am sure it will be like that for a lot of people.
Johnny Dee: That’s cool and that’s the way it should be. First, thanks to the Heavens Edge guys for reaching out to us. We were a late addition to this bill. Timing wise, we were trying to work it out early on but it was not looking like it was going to happen. But then Mark Evans came back to me and said “we are about to add another national act and it’s not going to be a band from Philly because Cinderella is obviously not going to come here and play with us and we really want to keep it a Philly event. And keep it old school. It just sounded to good to just give away and I felt we needed to present this lineup in Philly, although I think we would not have gotten here until early next year. I thought what the hell. It’s an easy gig we will play an hour set and just hammer people over the head and have a fucking good time. That’s what everybody is going to get when they come to the show.
Dante: I seen Mark Evans posted the show is almost sold out.
Johnny Dee: Yeah, I am impressed with what Heavens Edge have been able to accomplish in just the past year or two. They have gone to England they have done a few festivals and a one of the cruises and they sold out the World Cafe Live in Philly. That’s pretty respectable for a band that came out with their first album in 1990. It should be really cool and maybe it can start a yearly tradition of just having, like you said having a class reunion with bands and shit. There are reunions that people are doing every once in a while like the Galaxy reunion or an Empire reunion or whatever. This seems like it could be a really good one. It might spark some other ideas to make it a yearly thing.
Dante: Do you guys have merch and are you doing a meet n greet or anything like that?
Johnny Dee: We have merch and we will be hanging out. There is no special meet n greet going on. We are only playing an hour set so there will be plenty of time to bullshit and hang around and take pictures and watch the other bands. It is going to be a fun night.
Dante: The timing on this sucks. It’s just kind of odd that I am talking to you and just early today it was announced that The Legendary Dobbs has closed. I hope it does not turn into some hipster coffee house or some shit like that. What are your thoughts?
Johnny Dee: It’s really sad. I know Nina really well. I met her on a flight either to or from Germany. We just started chatting and I don’t think she had any idea that should would be doing anything like that a few years later. But it is a ballsy move to take something like that and make it happen again, in the old way. It’s just so dame tough. It is just hard to compete with corporate America and corporate rock n roll when you are the little guy. It’s just a shame. I just hope someone comes along and does something with it. I would love to give it a whack but I don’t have the cash or the backing to do it. We need a real rock club maybe not in the city. There is enough corporate things going on down there. It might be cool to have something out in the burbs or the North East again. Hopefully someone will come along with some fresh new ideas and put them into effect and not turn it into like you said some bullshit cookie cutter bar.
Dante: I wanted to ask about a few other bands you are in. You just played my neck of the woods recently with Kick – The INXS EXPERIENCE. How did that come about?
Johnny Dee: I am actually in the band. I joined the band about a year ago. Around Christmas I got a call from Cory Massi, the singer. They needed a new drummer and they have been through a couple at this point. And he just laid it out there, they wanted a pro drummer and they would work around my schedule and they just want to keep it a solid unit. And I was like this is fucking awesome lets do it. I started learning some songs and I thought this shit is so fun to play. And Cory’s voice is fucking great. And when I met the other guys I thought they were really cool. So it’s been nothing but fun. They are all down in South Carolina so we try to do about 2 to 3 shows in a row on a weekend. And we are just trying to build it up.
Dante: I wanted to ask about Headbangers Ball. Is that still going on?
Johnny Dee: Well everybody is just kind of out and about. Jane ( Jane Train) has a really heavy schedule with her band M80 and I was away with Doro and Virus was on a boat for 6 months and Joe Taylor was playing with Cory Glover for a while. Of course the one heavy band we try to do is the hardest band to book. Some people who book cover bands think we are to heavy. But the people that saw us play really got into it and its the kind of music that draws a crowd of us 80’s rockers. It’s a killer band and I’ll say it is just not easy to book something like that because you have top notch players that love to do it for fun but we all don’t live in the same area. So just to get together and rehearse is a whole day of driving some where. So if we perform we need to get a certain amount of pay back for it. It is hard to play gigs for free when its not your full time band. And it becomes a scheduling issue and logistically it can be a little difficult. But I did just speak to Jane the other day and we are trying to get some other stuff together for like the end of this year around Christmas or after the New Year. That would be really cool because I really had a lot of fun with that band as well.
Dante: Cool man, thanks for your time.
Johnny Dee: No problem man.