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Mad Margritt

Mad Margritt interview 

Mad Margritt
Submitted by Criss Sexx on 2016-12-23
 Well, Here's the interview with the awesome Eddie Smith, the singer / songwriter/ founding member of Mad Margritt, the band who has certainly released one of the best albums of 2016 - "Love, Hate And Deception". I hope you all enjoy it!!!

Criss Sexx
01 - Hi, there, Eddie! First, let me thank you for your time to answer these questions! Can we get started with you telling us about how you first got started in music, and when? Also, who were your biggest influences when you first started?
 
 
I think I was around 13 years old when I first heard the Ted Nugent masterpiece "Double Live Gonzo". It just blew me away, I knew right then that I wanted to be a musician. From there I started listening to bands like AC/DC, Kiss, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. A few years later I started getting into all the 80's stuff. I loved it all, everything from glam/sleaze stuff like Motley Crue, Posion, Cinderella, Warrant, Skid Row and Dokken to the heavier stuff like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Dio.
 
 
02 - Where are you origially from? Also, what did you do musically and, if it's the case, professionally, before Mad Margritt was founded? I clearly remember a Facebook post from your wife on Facebook of this 45' single you released at some time in the past... Can you also talk about it?
 
 
I was born in New Jersey but I moved to Miami, Florida when I was around 8 or 9. I had all sorts of horrible jobs when I was younger. I worked as a dishwasher, a tire changer, dug ditches. I did anything I could do to pay the rent and put food on the table. Thank God I have been able to support myself full time as a musician for the past 15 years because I really hated working at all those awful jobs. The first band I played in that started performing in bars was called Sharp Shooter. After that I was in a band called Stranglers Of Bombay which was the first band I ever played in that wrote original music. From there it was a band called Sanction who put out the 45' single that you were referring to. The song was called "Are We Forever" and I think we pressed around 500 of them.
 
 
03 - Mad Margritt - when and how was it put together? Was the very first band concept for the band following the Glam Rock trend, which was basically dead (thanks to grunge), when the first EP came out in 1997?
 
 
After the band Sanction broke up I formed Mad Margritt. I wanted to put together a band that played high energy, in your face rock like all the bands that I grew up listening to. When our first EP "Cold Sweat" came out in 1997, the whole glam/sleaze rock thing was dead and done. Grunge and alternative rock had pretty much killed the scene and it really pissed me off because music had gotten so boring in the 90's. I missed the excitement and energy of all the great bands from the 70's & 80's. The songs on "Cold Sweat" were written in retaliation to that whole Seattle grunge scene. It was us holding up a middle finger to the boring, depressing music that was dominating the charts back then. I remember this one booking agent telling me that we needed to update our look and start dressing like all the grunge bands so when we did the photo shoot for "Cold Sweat" I decided to do the exact opposite. I got even more glammed out then I usually did. I teased the hair, smeared on a ton of make up and put on the tightest black leather pants I could find. I was looking like Vince Neil on the "Too Fast For Love" album!!!
 
 
04 - Does it bother you at all when people compare your voice to late Warrant's singer Jani Lane? I personally think it's a big compliment...
 
 
Not at all, I think Jani Lane has an amazing voice. He was a really underrated singer, that dude had some pipes on him!
 
 
05 - How was the acceptance if a then new Glam Rock band when the "Cold Sweat" EP was released? How do you feel about being one of the very few bands that appeared in that era and are still around?
 
 
Surprisingly the response was great. I thought everyone was gonna hate it because we didn't look or sound like all the other bands that were out at the time but that album took on a life of it's own. We thought we were just gonna sell a few copies at our shows but the next thing you know we started getting write-ups in national magazines like Metal Edge and Spin and we even started getting some radio airplay. We were selling cds like crazy from people all over the USA and then we ended up signing a distribution deal and started selling overseas in Japan and Europe, it was an amazing time for us.
 
 
06 - Later on, "In The Name Of Rock", Mad Margritt's first full-length album was released. What can you say about this album and why were the songs off the first band's EP included on it?
 
 
Because of the success of "Cold Sweat" we got approached by a record company called Delinquent Records. We signed with them in early 1999 and the original plan was to record four or five new songs and re-release "Cold Sweat" as a full length album. Right before the album went to print the label decided to change the title of the album to "In The Name Of Rock". They put together new artwork and photos but it was really just the same songs from the "Cold Sweat" EP plus the new ones that we had just recorded.



07 - By 1999, Mad Margritt was touring with bigger bands. How was the feeling of touring with some great Hard Rock and Glam Rock icons such as Ratt, Cinderella, Great White, Warrant, Slaughter, Quiet Riot, Skid Row, The Bullet Boys and, later on, even bigger acts just like Kiss, Poison, Whitesnake, Warrant, Bret Michaels and Winger? Were there any memorable moments? How about bad ones?
 
 

It was so cool to finally be on the road touring after all the years of hard work that we put in. Not only were we touring all over the USA but we were performing in front of huge crowds opening up shows for all these bands that we grew up listening to. It was an incredible experience, we were living out our dreams and I loved every second of it! I can't really think of any bad moments except for the long drives in the van, they were super boring but doing the shows more than made up for it.
 
 
08 - Mad Margritt's next album, 2002's "New Sensation" (my personal favorite), showed a more diverse and commercial band. Was that something intentional? How was it touring with even bigger bands as Kiss, Poison, Whitesnake, Warrant, Bret Michaels and Winger this time?
 
 
We started trying a few new things when we recorded that album. We put more emphasis on melody and harmony and also tried a few different things with guitar tones and layering. That is actually how we came up with the title of the album. We called it "New Sensation" but we weren’t referring to the band as a a new sensation, we were referring to the fact that it was a very different recording process with all the new things that we were trying. It was a new experience or as the album title suggests, a new sensation. After the album came out, the shows were even better than the last time around. We did a few really big festivals and played a show in Florida for over 15,000 people. One misconception I want to clear up, we opened up several times for bands like Kiss and Poison but we didn't tour with them. We had our own tour schedule that our management and booking agents put together and some of our tour dates included shows with the bigger bands like Kiss, Whitesnake and all of those bands that you mentioned. We would end up playing several times during a tour with those bands and sometimes we would do a few nights in a row but we didn't tour exclusively with them. I think the band that we played with the most was Ratt, we always seemed to get booked on shows with them. Another band we played with a lot was Quiet Riot when they had the Metal Health line up back together. We actually opened for them right before Kevin Dubrow passed away.
 
 
 
09 - I would like you to talk a little about the "Straight Through The Heart" album and also about the Perris Records compilations you guys were on...
 
 
"Straight Through The Heart" was a "best of" album. It featured the most popular songs from our previous albums plus two new tracks. I really like every song on that album and I feel it really represents the best of the early years of Mad Margritt. It marked the end of that era for us because our sound changed a lot after that. As far as the Perris compilations, we had a blast working on those. We signed with Perris Records back in 2002 and we have had a great relationship with them ever since. Tom Mathers who runs the label is a great guy and he really understands the band and what we are trying to accomplish. When he put out those compilations he always included us on them, even though he had all these big name guys on them from bands like Guns N Roses, Kix, Britny Fox, Dangerous Toys and Ted Nugent. I always think to myself, how cool is it that I got to sing on an album with the guy who sang Stranglehold!
 
 
10 - 2007's "Animal" seemed to be the album that opened many doors... What can you say about it?
 
 
I absolutely love the "Animal" album. It's a lot heavier and more aggressive sounding than our previous albums but it still has all the stuff in there that Mad Margritt is known for. I think we really came into our own on this album and we were firing on all cylinders. Songs like "Loaded Gun" and "Don't Say A Word" along with the title track "Animal" became our most popular songs to date. I also feel that I really grew vocally on this album and became a much better singer.
 
 
11 - Mad Margritt's "Loaded Gun" video was aired across America and it eventually got the “2008 Video Of The Year” Award on Rocknation TV. How did you feel when you saw it happen after struggling for so many years? Also, how was it touring with other bigger bands as Queensryche, Dokken, LA Guns and others?
 
 
Getting the award for "Video Of The Year" was amazing! We got a lot of airplay on Rocknation, it really helped elevate our career to a whole new level. We would be doing shows in places like Texas and Oklahoma and people would come up and tell us how much they loved the "Loaded Gun" video. We did a lot more festivals around the time of the "Animal" album. There was a little stretch where we kept ending up at the same festivals as LA Guns, Faster Pussycat and Bang Tango. It was really cool hanging out with those guys. One night in Florida, Bang Tango singer Joe Leste got really drunk and started running up and down the hallways of the hotel naked. He ended up tripping and hit his lip on a door knob so he had to do the show the next day with a fat, busted up lip. He looked like hell but he still sang great!
 
 
 
12 - "Show No Mercy", the 2013 Mad Margritt album (also one of my favorites) brought an even tighter and more diverse sound. What can you say about this album? Also, what happened to the band for not touring as much as in the previous years?
 
 
We had a 5 year gap between the "Animal" album and "Show No Mercy". There were a few line-up changes and some others things that set us back so it really took some time to get that album going. Once we finished it and got it released we got booked on a 13 week summer tour. The first date was an outdoor festival with Saliva and Candlebox in front of 8,000 people. It was a great show and we were really looking forward to a fun summer on the road but unfortunately the promoter was having some issues with permits and he ended up canceling the whole tour. We had planned to put something else together but then I fractured my ankle and was laid up for a little while. Shortly after that our guitar player decided to leave the band so as much as we wanted to get back out on the road and tour behind the "Show No Mercy" album, it was just not meant to happen.
 
 
13 - Well I know it is a tough question, but here it goes... Why were there so many line-up changes in Mad Margritt throughout the years? Was it either a matter of difficulties or the former members weren't as dedicated and devoted to the music and band responsibilities as you've always been? Also, was it the reason for the long breaks between album releases?
 
 
 
When a band has been together for as long as Mad Margritt, there are bound to be line-up changes. Most of the time things end on good terms, I'm actually really close friends with most of the ex-band members. Whenever there is a change it's usually just a case of someone getting burnt out. We keep a pretty brutal schedule. Being in this band is very consuming of everyones time so you really have to be committed. There have been a few cases were things ended badly but that is usually not the case. You can look at a lot of the bigger bands and most of them have had several line-up changes as well. Whether you are a big named band like Guns N Roses or a band at our level, it's really difficult for 4 or 5 guys to all stay together and committed to the same project year after year.
 
 
 
14 - Let's now talk about Mad Margritt's brand new album brand new album, "Love, Hate And Deception", released this year. I personally think it's another great album by the band, but with a heavier, more serious edge and direction. What's your opinion about "Love, Hate And Deception"? Do you think old Mad Margritt's fans will stand by the band even with the new sound direction and a more "sober" image?
 
 

We had an awesome time writing and recording this album. Probably the most fun I've ever had in the studio. We didn't plan out anything as far as how the songs should sound or what direction we should go in, we just went in and recorded whatever we were feeling. There were no rules, we just did whatever felt right. The end result was a very fresh, raw and energetic sounding album. I think the biggest thing for me is even though it's a very raw, aggressive sounding album, the songs still have a ton of hooks. In my opinion, it's by far the best stuff we have ever written. We are so excited for everyone to hear what we came up with this time around, we definitely took everything to a whole new level.
 
 
 
15 - What can you say about the new band that brings Mark Cook on guitar, Matt Aebi on bass and Tod Williford on drums? How does this line-up differ from the previous ones in your personal opinion?
 
 

I can honestly say that the band has never sounded better. I have played with some amazing musicians through the years but there is just something really special about this line-up. Mark is an amazing guitarist and songwriter, he is the perfect fit for this band. Matt and Tod are also both phenomenal musicians. When those three lock in with each other it sounds like a freight train! The best part is that we all get along great with each other. This line-up has been together for the better part of three years and I can't ever recall a single argument between us. We are having so much fun and there is zero drama, we have a blast together onstage and off.
 
 
16 - You guys also have a new video for the opening track off "Love, Hate And Deception", "Liar". What made the band choose this song to be the first video off the album? What can you say about the video itself?
 
 
 
It was really hard deciding on what song to pick as the first video. Usually when we do an album there are one or two songs that really stand out so the choice is obvious when deciding on what song to choose as a video. This time around we felt that every song kicked ass and a case could be made for anyone of them to be the first video. The reason we chose "Liar" is because it's such a fun, upbeat song and it catches your attention right from the first riff. We felt that it would be the perfect way to introduce people to the new album. We decided to do a live performance video instead of a concept video. The feedback I have gotten from people is that with rock and metal, they would rather see a video of the band rocking out instead of some artsy concept video. We plan on shooting video number two very soon. The plan is to shoot three or four videos over the course of the next year.
 
 
 
17 - "Love, Hate And Deception" does have some really solid songwriting. What can you say about the songwriting process for this album, and what are your favorite tracks off it and why?
 
 

That's a tough question because I really love every track on the album. I think vocally, my best performance is on "Bad Obsession". I'm very critical of my vocals and usually I hear little things here and there that I'm not entirely happy with but I'm really proud of what I did on that song. We recorded the entire album at Mark's home studio. We recorded the songs as soon as we wrote them which is something I've never done before. In the past we would rehearse the songs for a long time and try to fine tune them but this time everything we wrote was spontaneous and in the moment.
 
 
 
18 - Talking about favorite songs, what are some of your own personal favorite all time Mad Margritt songs? Any special reasons?
 

 
From the early days, my favorites are "Cold Sweat", "Anyway That You Want It", "One Look In Your Eyes", "In The Name Of Rock", "Midnight Rendezvous" and "Lonely". More recently, "Animal", "Don't Say A Word", "Loaded Gun", "Ruling Me", "I Can't Get Enough", "Ever Since You've Been Gone" and every track off of the new "Love, Hate And Deception" album!!
 
 
 
19 - Does Mad Margritt have any endorsement at the moment?
 
 

Not at the moment. We all have long hair, maybe we can get a shampoo endorsement!!!
 
 
 
20 - How about 2017 for Mad Margritt? Anything already planned?
 
 
We plan on getting back out there and doing a little roadwork again in 2017. We have a few west coast dates already booked. We will be at The Doll Hut in Anaheim, California on February, 10th and on February, 11th we will be performing at the 2017 Pre-Grammy Rock Fest at The Viper Room in Hollywood, California. We are currently putting together some northeast dates up around New York and New Jersey and we are also looking to do some of the big summer festivals in the midwest. Of course we always stay busy in the southeast so we will continue doing shows in that area as well.
 
 
 
21 - How about touring? Besides the US, are you guys thinking of going anywhere else?
 
 

We would love to play outside the US. We have had several offers in the past but it cost so much to do an overseas tour, it's just never worked out for us financially.
 
 
 
22 - Any last words for the fans out there? How can they contact you to get the Mad Margritt albums?
 
 
 
We just wanna thank everyone for all the support we have gotten through the years. We absolutely love being able to create and perform music and it's a great feeling to know that so many people enjoy what we are doing. The best way to purchase our music is from our website at www.madmargritt.com You can also order directly from Perris Records at www.perrisrecords.com or you can order online at any of the major music stores in the USA including Sears, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble and Target to name a few. For digital copies, go to Itunes or Amazon.
 
 
23 - Once again, I want to thank you, Eddie. I hope you and the guys in Mad Margritt have a Merry Christmas and a kick ass 2017!!! You guys ROCK!!!!


Criss Sexx


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