TOM KEIFER On Plans For New Music: 'Song Ideas Kind Of Come In Dribs And Drabs'

February 29, 2024

In a new interview with Larry Mac of the 96.1 KLPX radio station, CINDERELLA frontman Tom Keifer was asked if he has commenced work on material for the follow-up to his sophomore solo album, "Rise", which was released in September 2019 via Cleopatra Records. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Song ideas kind of come in dribs and drabs and melodies here that I sing into a voice memo and jot down a few lyrics. And those things kind of start to accumulate, and just when you least expect it, when you don't think you really have anything and you start to get in that place, it's, like, 'Oh, man. I'm never gonna make another record again. When's it gonna happen?' And then, all of a sudden, boom, you're making a record. It's just kind of, like, all these ideas will accumulate and then you realize you have something. It's hard to predict when that'll happen. We had thought about and wanted to make a follow-up record to [2013's] 'The Way Life Goes' and we were touring so much behind that one and building this new band out on the road, it just seemed like it was never gonna happen. And, actually, when we got off the road in 2018, without any premeditated planning or anything, we just kind of suddenly found ourselves in the studio and recording the 'Rise' record. And before we knew it, it was done and released. So you kind of just know when the time is right. This period of creativity, at least for me, it just kind of hits you over the head like a bolt of lightning."

Keifer went on to say that he lets his music develop organically. "I've always approached it that way, particularly songwriting," he explained. "And with the solo stuff, I co-write almost everything exclusively with [my wife] Savannah. She's a pretty amazing writer, and she works the same way too. She's not someone that likes to force writing. There's some writers that say, 'I'm gonna get up tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. and write a song,' and they're really great at that. It's not how I work or how we work together. Trying to stash away different ideas and inspirations and then, at some point — I don't know — something just kind of comes over you and you go and you look through them and you just go, 'Wow, that's a great idea, and you start to finish them. You take the inspiration and turn it into — it ultimately becomes the song and then [you] record it. And, obviously, the recording and capturing the right energy for the song is a whole other creative process, beyond the songwriting. But before you even consider making a record, for me, the foundation of that is great songs, which start with a great lyric and melody, is always what I'm on the hunt for — more so than even guitar riffs. Writing is always — for me, the lyrics and melody kind of come first, and then what that inspiration or that lyric is about kind of dictates what the music should be, and that inspires the riffs, if that makes sense."

Tom's #KEIFERBAND is rounded out by Savannah Keifer, Tony Higbee, Billy Mercer, Kendra Chantelle, Jarred Pope and Kory Myers.

Last year, Keifer told SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" that he hadn't "recorded anything" new since "Rise". "Some song ideas are starting to bubble," he said.

"The pandemic kind of threw a wrench in everything, obviously," he explained. "We were in the middle of working 'Rise'; we were on the second single, 'Hype', and were about to go out on that 'Big Rock Summer Tour' [with RATT, SKID ROW and SLAUGHTER]. And 'Hype' was kind of moving up the charts, and then everything got shut down. All the creative juices, all the energy during that couple of years just kind of… I know some people got creative; some people didn't. I didn't. [Laughs] So, it's starting to come back now. I think getting back out on the road last year kind of ignited that spark again. But, yeah, we definitely wanna do a follow-up to it.

"I would say records come in their time; I don't like to rush them," Keifer added. "But, yeah, there will for sure be a follow-up. And that antenna is starting to go up and song ideas are starting to kind of come in. Yeah, it's coming."

According to Tom, the pandemic-related break from touring came just at the right time. "I kind of needed it," he said. "We toured so much with this band leading right up to the last tour, right before the pandemic. We were actually out early that year, in 2020, 'cause the 'Rise' tour was still kind of continuing; we were still working the record. So it was 10 years straight for me — or not quite 10 years at that point. But there were three CINDERELLA tours prior to that. So I'd been on the road, like, 12 years straight. So I was crispy by the time that pandemic hit. None of us wanted that forced on us, obviously, but I guess it forced me to take a break, which I probably needed."

Although CINDERELLA hasn't released a new studio album since 1994's "Still Climbing", the band started playing sporadic shows again in 2010 but has been largely inactive for the last few years while Keifer focused on his solo career.

In March 2022, Keifer said that he was "not prepared" for the 2021 passing of CINDERELLA guitarist Jeff LaBar. Jeff was found dead by his wife in July 2021 inside his apartment in Nashville. He was 58 years old.

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