Chip Z'nuff Blasts Rock Hall For Yes, Iron Maiden, Cheap Trick Snubs

Enuff Z'Nuff cofounder Chip Z'nuff was a featured guest on the latest episode of Talking Metal. He discussed a variety of topics including Steven Adler, Jake E. Lee (who played on the last Enuff Z'nuff studio album), the late guitarist Derek Frigo, and also his shock at the Rock Hall of Fame for snubbing the popular and influential groups Yes, Iron Maiden and Cheap Trick.

The show sent over these excerpts from the interview: On plans for an Enuff Z'Nuff thirty-year anniversary tour: That would certainly be nice to do something like that but it's funny you bring it up because we could be nominated into the Rock 'n Roll Hall Of Fame now. It's 25 years of service. The first album came out in 1989 and here we are in 2014. It would be quite an accomplishment just to be recognized but we certainly aren't anticipating it. Most bands that get into the Rock 'n Roll Hall Of Fame have millions and millions of albums sales and they've left a mark but I see so many bands out there that aren't in the Rock 'n Roll Hall Of Fame that it is shocking, like Yes, Iron Maiden, Cheap Tricků but just to be in the game still when the average life expectancy of any band is five years is quite an accomplishment.

On the current status of Enuff Z'Nuff and the new covers album: We put together a nice record of us doing Prince, Nirvana, Queen and Cheap Trick. It is quite a good record and we've just been selling it on the road, on tours. We didn't want to put it up on iTunes yet because we wanted our diehard fans to get it first. It was a nice little taste for the fans when they come out and see the band play to hold them over until we can do another studio record. Donnie stopped touring with us at the end of March or April after we did a tour over in the UK and he took a little break after that. He wanted to do a solo album and in the meantime we wanted to continue to play so we are out there as a four piece. Myself, Johnny Monaco, who has been singing with us and playing guitar for years. Randi Scott from Silverman and Troy Stroffregan.

On doing another album with or without Donnie Vie: I certainly would like to see it with him of course. He is a big part of the reason I am in this business right now, his beautiful voice and those great songs we've written together. I would envision that Donnie would be there to make one more record but right now I'd be speaking to soon. I couldn't promise anybody anything. We have talked about whether or not we'd like to do another record but whether it ends up actually happening only time will tell.

On Jake E. Lee touring and coming back into the spotlight: I would like to see it happen for him. He's been sitting idle for a long time, he's the Howard Hughes of rock. He is living out in Las Vegas. In fact the last time I saw him after he played on the Enuff Z'Nuff Dissonance record, about a year later I got a call from one of the agents that wanted to bring Enuff Z'Nuff over to Japan because we always had a good presence there so I reached out to Jake E. to see if he'd be interested in going over there plan a couple of songs, not the whole set but for a few tunes we do off the Dissonance album live. He basically said he wanted to go over there on his own and do a solo tour as himself which I respect that and I just found out recently that the same agency out of Los Angeles, Big-Time Entertainment signed him up. He's got a little solo band and he is going to go out and do a 30 city tour this year. It is nice to see Jake E. out there. He's got that Les Paul. He plays like you wouldn't believe. He's just a wonderful musician. He doesn't even look like he's playing when he's playing. His technique is so unorthodox. On the Enuff Z'Nuff album he came down and bashed out all the songs. No one told him what the play. He did everything on his own He showed another side of himself. He is a six trick pony. He can play different styles of music. He is a very melodic player He still looks great. It's funny; when I talked to him last he had a broken leg. He was chasing down an ice cream truck out in Las Vegas and slipped, and tripped over the curb, fell in the street and broke his leg. He does love his sweets. He has healed up fine and he's gonna be out there on tour. I'm sure he's got a great band. I love him and it was an honor to play with him. And that's the only thing he'd done for a long time was the Enuff Z'Nuff album. It's nice to see him go on his own again and get a chance to play some of the songs he helped write that he never got credit for with Ozzy Osbourne. People want to hear those songs.

On Derek Frigo: What happened was in 1987 or 88 we were working in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin at a place called Royal Recorders and at the time it was Alex Kane from Life, Sex and Death who was playing guitar in Enuff Z'Nuff and the management company feltů, they were also handle Derek Frigo. They said, "the demos have been turned down by every single label. Why don't we try something with this other guitarist?" I had heard all about him. I remembered him from his old band Le Mans. I knew that he was a real rock 'n roll who burned the candle at both ends and I was concerned about us all get together thinking it would be out of control like a four ring circus so I told management "no, why don't we check someone else out." And they said "look, when we just have him come down and play three or four songs and then we will shop that demo." Reluctantly I gave in. Then Donnie and I said okay bring him on down. So basically we pulled Alex's guitar parts off the song and had Derek come in and play solos on four tunes that was it. Now the same tape that had went out to everybody and every single label had passed on, went back to them again with these four songs and everyone loved it. A bidding war happened. From nothing at all, all this broke. We couldn't get anything happening and now Chrysalis, Atlantic, Warner Brothers and all these labels were bidding on Enuff Z'Nuff. We knew we needed to make a change for the better so Derek came in and he was great on that first record. He played through an old Bradshaw. He loved the boogie stuff. He was just a great guitar player. He had wonderful influences. His father is Johnny Frigo, who was a jazz violinist who played with Count Basie, Billie Holiday and all these different stars from that era. He used to be on Johnny Carson. His son, Derek used to listen to him all the time and ended up pillaging a lot of that stuff and he brought it to Enuff Z'Nuff. Donnie to this day will probably disagree with me and thinks that maybe Derek's heavy buzz guitars might have hurt the band because we were essentially a pop group but I beg to differ. If it wasn't for his guitar playing, his extraordinary talents, you wouldn't be talking to me right now. He was a big part of the Enuff Z'Nuff sound on those first three albums, actually first four albums. We went with Derek for four or five years touring around the country and I was constantly putting fires out because there was a lot of tension between Donnie and himself. Derek wanted to be more of a guitar driven band and Donnie was hoping it would focus more on the songs and not heavy guitars. I think the whole combination made a lot of tension so instead of just doing pop songs they turned into real good rock 'n roll records. Derek went with us until about 93 and then Donnie and Derek had a disagreement about a part and he wanted him out of the band. So Derek said I'm gonna go out of my own, I can do a solo record. It broke my heart. We went back and we picked up Gino Martino, who was the original guitar player before Alex Kane. Gino went out on tour with us until we could figure out what we were going to do with our lives and band. Derek did end up coming back to the fold in 2004 to record the ? album. We were going to go over to Japan to support that record and that's when he died in Los Angeles and it just stopped the whole choo-choo train. No tour of Japan. We never really supported that record because the band was crippled at that point.

On Steven Adler: I have been in contact with him because a month or two ago we talked and he's telling me how much he missed me and wants' to go back out and do some more stuff in the summer time. Evidently he was doing pretty good and seems to be getting over the horse. I know he was going through some problems. When he's off tour he finds himself getting in trouble a little bit. He was not doing any hard drugs or anything but he found himself drinking a little too much and he just wanted to take a break from that. I called him just the other day to leave a message on his machine but his phone was shut off. I am saying a prayer for him. I hope he's doing okay because his only dream in life was for Guns n Roses to get back together again and to do the run one more time even if it was just for one show. I know it broke his heart when they were inducted into the Rock 'n Roll Hall Of Fame and Axl didn't show up.

Check out the full episode which also features Leather Leone from Chastain, Will Wallner from Wallner Vain and White Wizzard here.

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