Tony Moore, Riot, Bio-Interview,Thundersteel, Privilege
Riot / Faith & Fire Vocalist
FIB MUSIC: Tell us about the reunion. When will the tour kick off? Can we expect a new album anytime soon?
Tony Moore: The tour starts with Sweden Rock and Metalway (in Spain) in June, then we’ll be writing and recording the new album ’til we head to Japan in October. Also exploring the possibility of appearing with Hammerfall on select dates in the US & Canada. The reunion was something we all kept in touch about for years, and as soon as we leaked the suggestion that we might do it, the offers to appear just started coming in, so we agreed that it was time.
FIB MUSIC: What else are you up to these days? Any projects you’d like to promote?
TM: Well, I did “Accelerator” with Faith And Fire a couple of years ago. That’s me, Mike Flyntz, Danny Miranda from the Queen/Paul Rodgers Band & John Miceli who’s Meatloaf’s drummer. I really think it’s some of the best songwriting I’ve ever been involved with. It’s on CDBaby.com. Good stuff…
FIB MUSIC: How did you come to join Riot?
TM: I was a young working bassist in the NYC club / studio scene when I was approached by my friend Dave Harrington who managed Greene Street Recording (Riot’s home base studio at the time). He handed me a cassette (it was 1986) and said that this band needed a singer and I was scheduled to audition the following week. I said “what the hell” and took it home. It was a demo of “Thundersteel” and I think I wet myself. But I came in, gave it my best (singing along to the tracks with Mark (Reale, Riot guitarist)listening in the control room) and got the gig.
FIB MUSIC: What had you been doing before then?
TM: Working with a lot of different bands & writers, and studying jazz bass, which is what I really do.
FIB MUSIC: What was it like working with Mark Reale?
TM: It was a dream really – as soon as he realized I was a decent lyricist, he & bassist Don Van Stavern would just give me instrumentals and let me go crazy with melodies and lyrics. The whole collaboration was just about the easiest and best I’ve ever encountered.
Riot – Thundersteel
FIB MUSIC: Was the band already signed to CBS when you joined? How was it being signed to a major label?
TM: No, our manager was still working on finding us a label. I was excited to sign with a major until I realized a couple of years down the road that we were all broke and had signed a really bad deal.
FIB MUSIC: What did the band do with the record label advance?
TM: The advance went mostly to recouping recording expenses and patching the holes in our lousy tour support. Individually we got nothing.
Riot – “Fight or Fall”
FIB MUSIC: Your first album with Riot, “Thundersteel”, was released in ’88. What’s something that stands out?
TM: I remember the release party at the studio – CBS execs were there and everybody was doing a lot of blow. There was a blizzard of phone interviews from Europe. We felt like rock stars for couple of minutes.
FIB MUSIC: Do you remember what the budget was for recording the album?
TM: Wow, I don’t really remember. Our producer and I were close at the time and he would do anything to get the record finished. Then he went crazy and re-wrote our ASCAP splits so that he owned the publishing & the masters. We never saw a dime from those 2 albums, and he took the whole advance claiming we had spent a fortune.
FIB MUSIC: How long did it take to record the “Thundersteel”? Where was it recorded?
TM: It took a while, as I recall – a period of several months at Greene Street Recording in Soho, NYC. Great studio at the time.
Riot – “Bloodstreets”
FIB MUSIC: How long did you guys tour to support the album? Where did you tour?
TM: We did a club tour of the US, then a pretty nice stretch of dates at 2500+ seat venues in Japan. Repeated the process for “Privilege of Power”, except that by then our producer had pissed off CBS to the point where we were living on $15 dollar-a-day per diem and sleeping on the bus (in the parking lot of the hotel where the bus driver was staying. He had a better deal than us.)
Riot – Privilege of Power
(L-R)Bobby Jarzombek, Tony Moore, Don Van Stavern, Mark Reale
FIB MUSIC: What stands out when you think of the “Privilege of Power” recording sessions?
TM: That stuff was amazing, and I’ll never forget walking into the control room and meeting Randy & Mike Brecker, plus the Tower of Power Horns. These guys were my heroes – I transcribed all of their stuff when I was in college playing in funk bands (on bass).
FIB MUSIC: Did you guys receive a bigger recording budget? Did the label consider “Thundersteel” a success?
TM: “Thundersteel” did OK, we barely finished “Privilege Of Power”, and, like I said, never saw any money. Not a nickel.
FIB MUSIC: Where did you record that album? How long did it take?
TM: Same place, and roughly the same time frame – it happened slowly over a period of several months. Once the basics were done, then the producer disappeared with a huge bag of coke and our masters so he could mix in all that unintelligible nonsense in between the songs. We missed 3 delivery dates and that’s why CBS/Sony wrote us off after that.
FIB MUSIC: Who were some of the bands you toured with to support “Privilege of Power”?
TM: We headlined, but at small places. Sometimes we would show up and the club wasn’t even sure we were supposed to be there. We got no radio buys, advance advertising, not even any fucking posters sometimes. The second US tour totally sucked.
FIB MUSIC: Any AMAZING stories from the road?
TM: Mike(Flyntz, Riot guitarist) saved my life once. I was really drunk at the end of the US POP tour and inhaled a piece of chicken fried steak at a truck stop. He gave me the Heimlich maneuver and here I am today.
FIB MUSIC: If you had it to do over again, would you sign with CBS?
TM: Never again. You’re so much better off self-producing and doing a licensing deal with a reputable indie. I’ve made more money from CD Baby with my Faith & Fire project than I ever did being on Sony.
FIB MUSIC: You seemed to enjoy immense popularity in Japan. How did their crowds differ from here in the states?
TM: Greatest audiences in the world. They politely file in, go absolutely berserk for 2 hours, then politely file out. They treat you with tremendous respect, and know way more about the music than we do.
FIB MUSIC: Why did you leave Riot in the 90’s?
TM: Strictly business. I refused to be handled by the same parade of drug addicts, petty criminals, record industry hacks and frauds that screwed everything up the first time.
FIB MUSIC: What made you decide to re-join the band?
TM: We had talked about it over the years and discovered that the 2 albums we did had achieved some considerable status in Metal history, so we decided to go for it.
FIB MUSIC: What are some of your favorite clubs to play?
TM: Irving Plaza in NYC. I loved the old Country Club in LA, but I don’t know if it’s still there, and everywhere we played in Japan.
FIB MUSIC: What was it like working with Steve Loeb?
TM: Let’s not go there.
FIB MUSIC: Is there an album you feel sums up what Riot was all about?
TM: For me, “Privilege of Power”.
FIB MUSIC: Is there a Riot album you would’ve preferred not to have released?
TM: I only did 2, but I wish Loeb had never released the bootleg “Live in Japan” piece of crap. He smuggled in a DAT recorder, took a dry live feed off the board, added some reverb and released it on his own without our knowledge or consent.
FIB MUSIC: Do you have a favorite recording experience?
TM: Working with Joe Lynn Turner and the Tower Of Power Horns.
FIB MUSIC: What are your 3 most fond memories from your days in Riot?
TM: They would all involve Japanese restaurants.
FIB MUSIC: Who were some of your biggest influences?
TM: Deep Purple, Grand Funk Railroad, Stevie Wonder, Edgar Winter, Joni Mitchell, Jaco Pastorius.
FIB MUSIC: For those of our readers unfamiliar with it, talk a little about Faith & Fire.
TM: That was a dream project, mostly cooked up by Mike Flyntz. He’s good friends with John Miceli and Danny Miranda, and the songs developed so naturally, plus we had complete creative control. Can’t wait to do that again.
FIB MUSIC: What was it like working with John Miceli?
TM: He’s a monster and just an all-around great guy : the 2 best things you can say about a brother musician.
FIB MUSIC: If you were transported back in time to the late ’80s and had to do two things differently, what would they be?
TM: Burn the Sony contract before I signed it and fire everybody from the producer all the way down to the bus driver.
THE FAST 5
FIB MUSIC: What is your most disgusting habit?
TM: You’d have to ask my wife.
FIB MUSIC: What is the most feminine thing you do?
TM: Color my hair, I guess. Again, you’d have to ask my wife.
FIB MUSIC: If there is a God, what is the first question you would ask God when you arrive?
TM: How the hell did I get in?
FIB MUSIC: Greatest Rock band of all time?
FIB MUSIC: What were you doing 40 minutes before you sat down to do this interview?
TM: Working in beautiful downtown El Segundo, California. I’m a Mac graphics guru by day.