Johnny Kelly and Kenny Hickey , 2007

 

Written by: Tim Razler

 

So, you're a very busy guy; you're in four bands. How do you find the time to do that?
Johnny Kelly: Well, all of the bands work very little. It's true. They all work very sporadically, and it just works out. When one band is doing something, the other three aren't. So I've been able to work out a schedule. One of them is a cover band, so...

 

Yeah, have some questions about them later...
JK: And Seventh Void... Kenny and I have been really busy for the last six months between Danzig and Type O, so that had to be put aside. And there is still a lot of work to be done with that. Now that Type O is busy, Danzig isn't doing anything right now. So that's how it works out. If they were all busy, then I would have a problem.

 

Well it keeps you occupied, you know.
JK: Well it's something I enjoy doing.
Kenny Hickey: He should enjoy it, it's how he gets paid.
JK: Its what I do for a living. It's not like I can only go to work with Type O, working like 10 weeks every four years and making enough money to live for four years.

 

I was going to ask you about Seventh Void and Earl's Court but I have to talk about Type O for a while, because I got an email saying I had to.
JK: Who told you that?
KH: Did the publicist tell you that? You're doing the interview, you can talk about whatever the fuck you want.

 

Yeah the publicist told me I had to listen to the CD, sent me lyrics to the new album that I had to be very familiar with all of it. I didn't get a chance to listen to the CD, but I did look at the lyrics.
JK: Well that's fair.

When Bloody Kisses came out, you were the drum technician...
JK: Well not really. I only teched for them at a handful of shows. When Bloody Kisses came out I joined the band.
KH: He was a lousy drum tech.
JK: I was a good driver.
KH: You were an alright driver.
JK: Oh, c'mon! I'm a good driver.
KH: You're a driver, but you couldn't really go long distances.
JK: But when I drove it was good.
KH: Yeah, it was a good steady job for you.

 

So what was it like? That was when the band really took off; it's first really major selling album?
JK: Oh yeah, but Bloody Kisses was out for almost a year before it even got noticed. It came out in like August of '93. And I don't think Sal... did he even do any shows for Bloody Kisses?
KH: I don't know. I remember playing with him on stage.
JK: Okay, so maybe one. I joined the band in November of '93. That's why four months later... we didn't even go on the road until February of '94.

Man, I have terrible information.
JK: The wonders of the Internet.

 

Exactly, that's why I'm here.
JK: The chronicle. You're talking to the chronicle.

 

So, the new album...
JK: You liked it right?

 

I just said I haven't heard it yet!
JK: I know! It's a joke! [Laughs]

 

Actually, it's awesome. The best thing I've heard this year.
JK: At this point it's awesome that there is one.

 

I read in an interview that Peter said that all the previous albums were recorded using a drum machine
JK: October Rust and the three before this one.

 

So you were part of... the writing process for this one?
JK: Eh, I was part of the writing process for all of them. I was there; we'd rehearse as a band and stuff.

How long did the new album take to write and record?
JK: Forever. We started in the summer of 2005, and it became long, long nights working in the studio. A long, long, time. Plus there was other personal setbacks and bullshit. Pete going to jail, his mom passed away.

 

What was up with the jail thing?
JK: Parole violation.

 

A very famous guitarist was shot and killed here in Columbus just two years ago
JK: Dimebag

 

Yes... Have you noticed any effect, positive or negative, in the way security is handled now?
JK: Not a fucking thing, man. Nothing has changed. You know from what I see, when we were with Danzig...
KH: Owners aren't paid to protect you; they are only paid to protect the liability of the place itself. You don't really get padded down anymore walking into a venue.
JK: Well in New York you always did anyways, so it isn't much of a difference there.
KH: That guy wasn't part of the general population that night. He climbed over the fence and ran in the back.

 

Are you going to play Christian Woman tonight?
KH: Does Ozzy Osbourne play Paranoid every night?
JK: Honestly, I would like to not play it, once. I would! It'd be like KISS not playing Rock and Roll All Night.

I was listening to Seventh Void the other day. Where would you like to go with Seventh Void?
JK: I really think what motivated us, was to have something while Type O was on such long breaks. There's an influence of Type O, because obviously we're in both bands, but to me it is just straight up hard rock. The songs aren't as epic; it's just straight ahead, straight to the point, uh...

 

It's just good rockin' tunes
JK: Yeah, that's it.

 

What does the name mean?
JK: Yeah, Ken, answer him.
KH: Absolutely nothing! [Both laugh]
JK: It took us such a long time to come up with the name, like he proposed it and I was like great. [Laughs] I asked him if it was the number seven or the word spelled out, that's all I asked him.
KH: It's from Dante's Inferno with the Seventh Gate, the Seventh Ring, the Seventh Void, you know. Where the murderers and thieves go to; that's just as cheesy as saying it's nothing.

 

I was listening to Heaven Is Gone and the drums are really pronounced...
JK: Paul was mixing. [Laughs]

 

I was going to ask how many times you have to change drum heads
JK: Live gigs... I have to change them after every three gigs.

 

You guys were at the NAMM show right?
JK: NAMM? Yeah, yeah we played there too. First show in three years.

 

I've never been to it; most people haven't, so I was wondering what it's like. Is it industry guys smoking cigars and shaking each other's hands? What goes on there?
JK: It's like an auto show for instruments. They display new products like a new guitar string or a new drum line. All those manufacturers buy booths at this convention center. And after that, some sponsors will put on shows for some of the acts that they endorse. So Schecter, the guitar company, wanted us to play their party at the show.

 

Did you see any other bands there?
JK: Not this year. When we got there, we got there right before we played. But I have seen other bands there; I've seen Papa Roach, Black Label. The Schecter party every year is pretty good.
KH: They brought it back; for a time it was like every band played at Schecter, then after it went out of existence, then they would play at hotel bars.

 

Were there any crazy after parties with midget strippers or anything?
JK: [Both laugh] We didn't see too much this year; it wasn't like out of the ordinary. It seems a little wilder, cause you have so many guys from so many bands gravitate to that convention. It's like everyone we know is in Anaheim for that show. So you'll hang out. The place closes at normal business hours, so at 6 o'clock the place empties out. And everyone goes to whatever sponsored parties at hotels and stuff. And then you run into everybody. Everybody you've toured with
KH: Everybody's drunk.
JK: It's like 'Dude, I haven't seen you in so long, let's have a drink.' Then two hours later your throwing up outside.
KH: The Hilton was so packed at the bar it took literally 20 minutes to walk 12 feet. It's like going to the bar to get a drink, and by the time you get there it's last call.
JK: At the bar, we went there during the day, and the bar is this tiny bar...
KH: But when you're there at night it seems vast because there's so many people.

 

How do you get a drink then?
KH: We make a chain line you know what I mean?
JK: And we just pass em back [laughs]. It's like a big drunk fest, people handing you drinks all night long.

Earl's Court...
JK: Greatest rock n roll band of all time

 

Do you ever have to practice, or do you already know all the songs by heart?
JK: Once in a while we'll practice.

 

How many shows a year do you play?
JK: I don't know... like 18 or 20.

 

Do you stay mostly in New York?
JK: It's Brooklyn. [Laughs] Once in a while we'll venture out to Long Island. It's a road trip.

 

What did you think of Jimmy Paige playing with P. Diddy back in the day?
JK: I didn't think highly of it at all.

 

I don't know anybody who did.
JK: Maybe he somehow... I can't imagine he did it for the money. I don't think Jimmy Paige is hard up for cash. I have heard that he is very tight. They dubbed him... his nickname is Led Wallet. So maybe he did do it for money, or maybe he thought it was just something to do.

 

What's your favorite Zeppelin song to play?
JK: I don't know, the live version of Whole Lotta Love is really good.

 

Do you guys do the medley; make it into a thirty minute song?
JK: Yep.
KH: They have all the mistakes on the albums and they play those, too. [Both laugh]
JK: Yeah I remember trying to figure out one, there's a drum fill. I remember listening to it and trying to break it down and its just not making sense. Then I realized it was a mistake, on the record is a full on mistake, and I had to learn it that way cause I could not figure it out otherwise. It's cool though; it's one of those things like, they're guys I've known since we were very young. Met the bass player in high school, I met the guitarist when I was ten years old. It's just an excuse to get out when everyone is home.

 

So it's basically a garage band?
JK: Yeah.

 

That's awesome.
JK: [Laughs] It's just an excuse to get out.

 

I hear Danzig is coming out with a blues album with Hank Williams III or...
JK: There's been talk about Jerry Cantrell. When he was explaining it to me, he was just saying he wanted it to be just a guitar and vocal record, not having a band.

 

How bad is it driving like 400 miles in one night?
JK: Four hundred miles is a short ride. You know, that's the bus drivers' job, driving the bus.
KH: I think he means our experience.
JK: Oh, our experience?
KH: Say it's a 15-hour drive, we set it up so that we get in after a show at like 1 or 2 in the morning, get in and go to sleep. It doesn't get bad until the last 5 hours of the trip. You know you wake up, gotta take a shit, and there's nowhere to go... it's bad.
JK: Four hundred miles isn't bad. It's when you have a 1000-mile drive... that's when it gets brutal. In Europe it's different though. The bus driver has to stop driving after so many hours. Europe has very strict rules about driving. Once a driver has gone for 8 hours, he has to take a break. Because we didn't have a gig, there wasn't the necessity to fly in another driver. Sometimes you'll have to drivers on the bus and they'll just take shifts. They have these cards, like time cards, that monitor how fast your driving and how long you've been driving and if you drive past the limit the bus shuts off. Wherever you are, you're stranded. I don't know if the bus really shuts off or not, they might just be telling us that. It sounds like bullshit. I mean if your on the highway... anyway, when they turn in there time cards, if they've done anything wrong, something bad happens to them.

 

How are the fans in Europe, or Eastern Europe in this case?
JK: The way I see it, you know, from where I'm looking at it, it seems like we're a little more popular. I mean, we've sold more records here, but America is so vast that you're just playing for pockets of people here and there. Over in Europe, we'll play one festival in Poland and there are thousands of people there who are familiar with our work.

 

Is there any problem with the language barrier?
JK: Well, no, they mostly speak English. Like in Western Europe, everyone speaks English. Germany, Belgium, Scandinavia, everyone speaks English.

Well, thanks for your time, it was good talking to you guys.
JK: Hey no problem
KH: Any time.

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