Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: July 5th, 2005
Danny Malone bringing back the best of Diving for Pearls as they release their new CD in over a decade “Texas.” The interview that follows is from a man that made me feel like I knew him as a friend for many years. The interview was not like the usual interviews we do here at Rock Eyez. We talked for almost 20 minutes before the interview about past experiences, family and future. He is a down home person and one that lets his feeling flow as you will read. Rock Eyez would like to thank Danny Malone for granting us the interview. He is a special person that cares about family, friends and fans. Read on!
How does it feel to be back?
It feels great. I did my time in the Jersey Shore. I was with John Eddie’s band for about a year and we just hammered the Jersey Shore.
Back in your early years do you remember the first album you bought?
Jesus, I remember buying 45’s of the Tommy James and the Shondells “Crimson and Clover”. I was completely infatuated with that song and the ending. I had no idea how they did that. I always thought that it was Tommy James voice. I never knew that was tremolo. I know my mother brought home Beatles records. I guess it was 1963/64 my mother was about 23 years old. I got rid of all my albums and it was one of the biggest mistakes I made. Another one I got when I was in junior high school was Badfinger “Come and Get It”. The one record I wore out was “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath. I remember a lot of bands from TV with Kiss on Mike Douglas, bands on In Concert and Don Kirschner’s Rock Concert. That had a big impact on a lot of people. “Crimson and Clover” was my favorite song back then.
Where did you buy your records?
Columbia House, Everybody did the Columbia house scam, you get your 10 records from Columbia house then quit. Everybody did it. Yeah I did that and then I rejoined and got another ten.
Did you see any shows back then?
Yeah, the first show I saw was Rod Stewart & Faces in 1972/73. They did a thing here in Boston called Concerts on the common. It was right about “Gasoline Alley” time. I was a huge Rod Stewart fan. My wife and I saw Rod about five years ago. If he came back to this area I would go see him again.
Did you grow up in Boston?
Yeah I’m from Boston. I moved back here three years ago.
Were you a good kid in school?
I was a reasonably problematic kid. I got in to a fair amount of trouble. My parents got divorced. My mother could not handle me. But I was never a bad kid, I was not malicious. I particularly did not like school and I was much more interested in music than anything else. If my mother said zig I wanted to zag sort of thing.
What was the first garage band you were in?
Maybe I was in the second grade maybe. We had the plastic guitars it did matter if they played. In high school, I was in a band called Tour de Force. It was kind of like a revolving door. The very first band I was in which I hold dear to my heart here in Boston was a band called The Trademarks. Not to discredit any bands I have ever been in. It was the best band I was ever in. It was a bunch of guys from Boston all living 20 miles from each other. It was the early eighties. It was the time of new wave, which I was heavily into. Boston still has a thriving live music scene for original bands. I was in that band for three or four years and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Jack Moran who is the keyboard player in Diving for Pearls was in that band with me. We all lived in the same house just outside of Cambridge. We rehearsed in the basement, it was a garage band. We worked our asses off playing three or four nights a week.
What was the first song you wrote?
I can’t tell you the first song I wrote but I can tell you the first song I recorded. It was with the Trademarks and the song was called “Shadows”. I still have newspaper clipping and reviews of that. It was in the vein of U2. It was atmospheric guitars. It was about 1982/83. It was like Bono and the boys. I myself was heavily influenced by the Edge as a guitar player. It did really well. There is a radio station up here in Boston called WBCN. They are very supportive of local music and local bands. They do a local top three every Friday about lunch time. That song “Shadows” was the top song for about half dozen weeks. It was a big moment in my career and I was very proud of myself.
Was Diving for Pearls the first name you came up for the band?
Diving for Pearls was the original name of that band. The Trademarks broke up because the drummer was going to get married. Initially we were going to replace him, even though he was irreplaceable. We had two lead singers. A guy named David and me. We spent a few weeks auditioning drummers. David particularly liked this one drummer and Jack Moran and I didn’t. Jack and I decided to start something for ourselves. The house we lived in was kind of like a frat house. There were five guys with their girlfriends and friends. There were constantly people around. So we decided to have a game called name that band contest. In the dining room of the house we had names plastered all over the walls. I remember one of the names was Liquid Bunny. Jack Moran came up with the name Diving for Pearls. I wish I could take credit for it. But immediately we thought that’s it. We played here in Boston for a couple years before Jack and I decide to move to New York.
Was the band formed in New Jersey or New York?
We formed here in Boston about 1984 with another bass player and drummer for about a year. That lasted for about a year until. Peter Clemente (drums) and Yul Vasquez (guitar) joined the band.
Did you play club shows in NJ?
Yeah!!! A lot of people thought we were from Nashville because the record was recorded there. But a lot of people also thought we were from New Jersey because we played a lot of shows in New Jersey. We played a lot of shows at The Dirt Club in Bloomfield, New Jersey. The first time a label spotted us was at The Dirt Club. We played The Cat Club, CBGB’s, there was also a club in Times Square called Nirvana. We made the rounds in New York and New Jersey for a couple years. After Yul and Peter join the band we had a deal six months later.
Your debut album was released in 1989 which had some great songs "I Close My Eyes", “Gimme Your Good Lovin'”, “New Moon”. Did you record other material back then that you have stashed away?
We do have a few songs that we did, but didn’t finish. I guess at some point we should finish them. But we recorded ten songs for the album. We were on a budget and money was tight. So we only recorded ten songs. The record company gave us a certain amount of money and we spent every last dime trying to make sure everything was perfect.
David Prater produced the album. Have you been in touch with him through all these years?
I’ve always stayed in touch with David even when David was working with Dream Theater and Firehouse plus many others.
After Diving for pearls you were in Band of Angels, fronted by Elliot Easton from the Cars the CD came out in 1985 and was reissues in 1993 with bonus tracks sung by you. I read reviews that the bonus tracks that you sung are the best songs on the CD. Can you tell us anything about that project?
The five tracks are:
- Lonely Is the Dark
- Walk On Walden
- Long, Long Time
- Stop the World from Turning
- Let It Slide
Yeah we were signed to Atlantic and the album came out in 1993. It was a reissue of “Change No Change” with five songs which I sang on. That whole experience was not a good one for me. I really did not enjoy any of that. Bad experience, bad time I was very relieved when it was over.
I think some of the songs were really good but I hate to point the figure at anybody, but I think Roy Thomas Baker did a really terrible job producing that record. I have not seen him since the day I left Los Angeles and I would tell it to his face. It’s not malicious I just think he did a terrible job. I can’t even listen to it myself. Actually the demos which I filtered to get the record deal sounds better than the album. The only good thing that came out of the experience was I met my wife in Los Angeles. I truly enjoyed working with Elliot. Elliot is brilliant. I still talk to him on a regular basis and I would work with him anytime again. But the combination of Elliot, Roy, and I really didn’t work and unfortunately we did not make a very good record.
In 1994 you played a Christmas show with Glenn Burtnick and sang “ROCKIN' AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE”. You played Club Bene and the bottom line? What was that all about?
Glenn does that every year. I still think he is doing it. I have not spoken to Glenn in a year or two. He gets his friends together and each does a Christmas song. Glenn and I were in a band for a very short time called the Dunaways. We did a half of dozen gigs all at CBGB’s. This might be the second most enjoyable experience of my life. I have some recording of some of that stuff. If you like the Beatles you will like this stuff. Glenn Burtnick is as talented as any guy you will ever meet. Glenn never got the recognition, money and fame that he should have had. I don’t think I know of any better songwriters. I really enjoyed that guy and I only have glowing things to say about him.
Was there a reunion in 2002?
There was not. The last show for Diving for Pearls was in Scranton. PA.
You know everyone wants to know why did the band stop after the first CD?
You’re well aware of the fact that in 1992 Rock, Glam rock and big hair faded away because of grunge and Kurt Cobane and Nirvana. Basically the bottom dropped out. We were dropped and almost all the hair bands got the boot. If you were in a metal band you could even get arrested anymore. Look at Def Leppard they were at the height of their career. They are still a good band but they are not as big as they were. I mean look at Bon Jovi they changed their image. They were all glammed out now they go with the flannel shirts and ripped jeans. Initially Epic picked up our contract and we started working on a second record. The president at Epic at the time came in and said lose these bands and it was over.
Why was there such as delay in the release of “Texas?”
It was suppose to be released on June 20th. I really don’t know what the delay was.
Why did you name the CD “Texas?”
Ninety percent of the record was recorded in Texas. It’s hard being in Texas and not get caught up in that whole Texas thing. Plus David Prater who produced the CD is from Texas. I just spent so much time there last year on this album. There could not be a more appropriate name.
“Thinking about Things That Will Never Be” is said to be your favorite track on the new CD why?
Yeah I like that song. This for me is one of those things that is a great experience. Like every record there are things on it you like and don’t like. But for the most part I am very happy with it and “Thinking about things that will never be” is one of them. I like it because it sounds like a classic record track. We came as close as THE WHO and Keith Moon kind of thing without having to give them credit. I like the slide guitar on it and I could sing in the original key, because it actually gets pretty high.
What made you sign with Atenzia label?
I don’t know if you’re familiar with Magnus the A&R guy there. He is absolutely a great guy and going back through the eighties he signed me through Warner Chapel. I had a publishing deal with Warner Chapel. He is the biggest Diving for Pearls fan I ever met in my entire life. It took him years to convince me to do this. I initially wanted nothing to do with it. I just wanted to do new things and I kind of drifted away from the hard rock thing. I was more into the singer songwriter pop thing. It took him a long time to convince me to make a Diving for Pearls record. That’s an important thing to mention. He wanted a Diving for Pearls record and for years I was not interested in doing it. He persisted for years and finally I said ok. I think I’m ready to do that.
Tell me about the cover?
I found that painting in a local newspaper of the Bull. Someone in an asylum painted that. It was unaccredited they did not know who the artist was. It was hard being in Texas and not be effected by that whole longhorn thing. It was my outlook and idea, my wife took the photograph I did the concept.
The biggest controversy on the cover is, if you turn it upside down?
Why what happens if you turn it upside down.
I asked my kids. What is this? I think it is a bug with wings. My youngest daughter thinks it is a bug with a pirate’s hat on. My oldest daughter is a little crazy she thinks it is Leatherface from ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”
I will do that (laughing) now that you mention it. I do see leather face. That’s unbelievable. I can see that since you mention that. (Danny just keeps laughing.) It’s kind of a Rorschach. Like an ink blot.
Will there be a follow up CD after “Texas”?
I absolutely would love to do another one. I hope this generates enough interests to do another one. I hope we sell enough copies for the label so they can recoup their investment and to come back to me and say. The record did reasonably well. We like to do another one. I absolutely love to do another.
What are your feelings about the first Diving for Pearls album that has a big following and is selling on ebay everyday?
It’s hard for me to imagine. People consider that a classic example of late eighties light metal. I always sang and as a very young boy I started singing. I never had any doubt I could not sing. I did it reasonably well. I never had any doubts of my ability. To listen and read things about my voice I sort of cringe. I always say I could have sounded so much better; I could have done that different. I am amazed and a little shocked by the response I get sometimes.
It is a great album.
Well thank you very much. I greatly appreciate that. I really do!!!
What are the future plans for Danny Malone?
The thing I like to do - I don’t know if it is possible - I would like the guys who made the record to go out and play some dates. I love to play Jersey. Maybe rehearse a little but not too much. Keep it kind of fresh and on the raw side. Not to over rehearse and just go out and play some dates. That is what I personally like to do.
Are there any plans for a video?
There has absolutely been no talk of it. Well the only other plans I have. I have been talking about doing this for a long time and now that this record is about to be released. I want to do an official website on Diving for Pearls. We have an absolutely brilliant live recording of the band I would love to release. It was done by Westwood One - a King Biscuit Flower Hour that we did back in 1989/90. It’s first rate. It’s really great quality and I always wanted to release that. The Dunaways recorded dozens of songs which I would love to release. If I can get those things done and play some live dates that would be great.
Danny, Rockeyez.com would like to thank you for the interview and it's been great talking with you.
I thank you very much for the interview and I hope we can stay in touch. Cheers to everyone and check out our new CD “Texas.” Thanks!
Fans looking to contact Danny Malone or Diving for Pearls can contact Danny through firstname.lastname@example.org
Rock Eyez Review of 'Texas' by Diving for Pearls