Interview With Simon Daniels
(Autograph, Jailhouse, solo)
Rockin’ Interviews - Your dad was a classical pianist. How did that go into influencing you to play music yourself?
Simon Daniels - “In the beginning, it made me realize that music was probably in my genes not only from my father, but from other people in my family as well. Classical music, though felt somewhat limited and contrived because it can be very strict. I turned to rock n’ roll because I immediately connected to the powerful raw energy of the sound, the freedom of interpretation and improvisation. With that said I still use my knowledge of classical music when it applies to other genres."
R.I - How did you then get introduced to rock music?
S.D. - “I ran into a Beatles Album somewhere when I was a kid and I was immediately impressed with the songs. The Lyrics were very visual and the music was fantastic.”
R.I. - Can you give a little timeline from when you moved to L.A. up until joining Autograph?
S.D. - “I had already had two Albums released by major labels, songs in soap operas, touring experience and media coverage where I came from Rio, Brazil, but things were very limited and I felt that I ran my course at the time. I had an opportunity to come to Los Angeles in 1985. I found a manager and within three months I was in my first LA band: Agent X. Kim Fowley, the producer of The Runaways who also was a writer with songs on KISS albums got involved with us and introduced me to the LA rock scene. Time went by and a band called Rough Cutt was looking for a singer so they approached me and I said, why don’t we merge together and call it Jailhouse. We signed to Enigma Records, but not too long after Enigma was let go by it's mother label Capitol records and the band dispersed. Then, in the mid-’90s, I formed a band called Flood that ended being signed to Interscope Records and we made an Album, produced by Bob Marlette and Terry Date. The music world was having major changes so I decided to make an Album by myself writing all the songs and playing all the instruments. It's called "Human Being". I just didn't want to depend or wait for other musicians anymore. I would basically lock myself in a room playing different instruments all day. This CD was released independently and created a very strong buzz, it was played a lot on college radio and it charted quite well. In 2013, the band Jailhouse was invited to do a fun reunion on the Monsters of Rock Cruise. So I went and two months later I was approached by 2 original members of the band Autograph. Autograph hasn't been active since the late 80s. We talked and I said I’d love to do it, but I was not interested in being a carbon copy of their old singer. They said well, we didn’t want to repeat the past anyway, we wanted to move into something more current, gain new fans and bring the old ones with us. Sometimes people forget that no one is who they were 33 years ago Lol. So we started writing, got in the studio put out an EP called "Louder" and later on made the full Album ‘Get Off Your Ass’ which was released by Megadeth's David Ellefson 's EMP Label Group. A heavier sound, but as melodic and with similar approach to the vocal harmonies".
R.I. - How do you feel your writing has progressed and changed since your time in Jailhouse?
S.D. - "Creativity comes from one's subconscious. Of course once you actually sit down and write, you’re going to think of the parts and put them all together, but the essence comes from your subconscious. In Jailhouse the songs were more calculated and planned out. The brain only operates under the notion of things it has experienced using limited data that it has learned from the past. It’s just like a computer and a computer only functions according to the information that has been programmed in it. After Jailhouse I started writing from the heart. It became an effortless process going way beyond any limitations I thought I had".
R.I. - With Jimi’s joining the band, how has the stage dynamic changed?
S.D. - "We were bombarded by guitar players wanting to audition, but we didn't want to go through the process of auditioning tons of people we didn't know. When Jimi read that Steve left the band he immediately contacted original and founding member Randy Rand asking us for an audition. That kind of enthusiasm was very appealing to us. I had already known Jimi for years, he would always come see us play at Mohegan Sun in CT. He asked us to send him three songs. Then a week later he asked for more songs. We flew him to LA and once we got together and played It was immediately clear that he was a perfect fit."
R.I. - Recently you announced that you are going to be doing a solo set on MORC next year. Can you tell a little about what to expect from that?
S.D. - “I have a large catalogue of songs, but I also interpret covers. I don’t ever try to copy a singer or a musician. I listen to a song and if I love it I'll perform it the way I feel it. I will be performing 2 shows with 2 different sets including some of my originals and some awesome covers. I think it’s gonna be a lot of fun. I wanna have a party vibe for the whole thing".
R.I. - Do you plan on working on more solo records?
S.D. - “Yes sure"
R.I. - Do you like horror movies? If so, what is your favorite?
S.D. - " I like stuff that makes you think and that makes you scared, but not because of the violence, but because of the mystery. I like the Twilight Zone. Not really horror, but intriguing. "The Shining" is also one of my favorites as you mentioned it is for you.
R.I. - Outside of music, what do you enjoy doing?
S.D. - “ I love and have worked with animals. I had a facility where I worked with dogs with groomers and trainers a few years ago. I have a degree in business, I speak four languages, and I love exercising. I like reading, I like anything that stimulates me, I’m pretty open.”
R.I. - What is coming up for Autograph?
S.D. - “We’ve got a lot of shows already booked for next year and they keep coming. We’ve already got new songs, we’re gonna write with Jimi and either make an EP, put out a song at the time or consider doing another full length Album. That’s gonna be determined by what songs are ready, how much we like them and the overall timing. It's gonna freakin' Rock big time! Everybody Tag along and lets go! \m/"