INTERVIEW WITH Y&T VOCALIST/GUITARIST DAVE MENIKETTI

Conducted on July 25, 2019 by Tyson Briden

Talking Rock: Dave, it’s great to speak with you. I’m going start right off the bat. I reached out for an interview because I wanted to discuss this whole Universal thing with the original masters of many Y&T albums being destroyed in a fire 11 years ago. I read the posts that you had put up on Facebook about it. I was really astounded by the whole thing. So it wasn’t until recently that you found out what had been lost. How was it that after all those years, you came to find out?

Dave Meniketti: Well, I had originally heard about it through the news. Then a friend of mine sent me a text about it. Then I said, “Yeah, I already saw that!” Then of course all they were talking about at first were just about 25 different artists or so that were classic artists that lost stuff. Even artists that were no longer alive. Things from the 40’s, 50’s & 60’s, so on and so forth. The next thought was, “Well, we’ve got to find out if our stuff was in there”. Well about a week or so later, there was, I think a New York Times article that said, “Okay, now we’ve got the complete list of all the artists that have lost something in this vault!” We had seen ourselves in that article and then Jill [Meniketti] got a hold of the vault manager at Universal. She found out who that was and how to get a hold of them. He then went and did some work to find out what was lost in the fire and what was still available in other vaults. A week or so later he apologized for the delay, but came back to us with a list of everything that was lost in the fire and a list of everything that is still available in certain vaults. The list of what was lost in the fire were the original ¼’ and 1/2’analog masters, which are just what they used for making the original record, making the original CD etc. I mean those are the biggies! That’s the bread and butter right there. They were lost for ‘Earthshaker’, ‘Black Tiger’, ‘Meanstreak’, ‘In Rock We Trust’, ‘Open Fire Live’ and ‘Down For The Count’. Every single record we did on A&M.

Talking Rock:  That is insane. With that said, the two Geffen albums, ‘Contagious’ and ‘Ten’, which were Universal as well, were elsewhere?

Dave Meniketti: It was in a different vault evidently. Yeah. Those were not any of the original masters that he was talking about. I am almost certain that it would be. I haven’t looked at the list of things that are in other vaults and memorized it. You know I haven’t committed it to my memory yet. I would imagine if I looked through that list I would find the ‘Contagious’ and the ‘Ten’ records as well. I will say that there are back-ups on some other formats like – they have a 16/10 numatics, or 16/30 numatics, which are basically like giant 8-tracks. That’s how I could say it. They are not the reel-to-reel tapes. They’re almost like a video format. Like a master video format that they do have some back-ups in some sort of or another. I have heard one of these numatics and then heard an actual analog master. They do not sound the same. For what it’s worth, there is at least some sort of back-up. Certainly, digitally there is a back-up of it somewhere. We have our own digital back-ups  of the masters that we re-released and re-mastered ourselves, which was done before the fire. So we got the original tapes to do them and fortunately we did them in 2005/2006. The fire was in 2008. So we got those re-mastered from the original analog masters which of course was the absolute best way to do it.

Talking Rock: I totally agree with that. So when Universal did ‘Earthquake: The A&M Years” – that was a 2013 release. Did they take that off the DAT recording?

Dave Meniketti: They probably got a digital master and did it off of that. They could have been sent one of these 16/30’s. Although, they did as I can see in a couple of these and it’s kind of hard to figure out because some of them say “Unknown Origin” or “We Don’t Know” what this is exactly. They could be analog copies of the original analog masters. It’s possible they got those, but it’s very likely that they used a digital copy of the analog master. I am a state of an art kind of guy. I am a super crazy kind of guy about how things sound and I can tell you absolutely 100% assuredly that the original analog masters – every other copy, whether it be an analog copy or a digital copy does not sound the same. Most people probably can’t tell, but if you played the two back-to-back, you’d hear it. Without knowing and they just put something on – most people listen to MP3’s at 192 kilobytes. So it doesn’t matter if you think about it that way, but it does matter because these particular original master tapes have an intrinsic sort of emotional attachment to them as well as a physical attachment because these are the actual tapes where we were sitting in the recording studio knowing they were mixing these songs, those were the tapes they were mixing them too. They simultaneously have a ½’ and a ¼’ analog deck recording at the same time when they mix these things down. Then they would wait a few minutes after that, let our ears clear for a second and listen back to each one of those. Then try to make a determination of which one we thought was better and what they’re going to use to be the main master to make the records off of or CD’s. That’s something that’s a part of my history that I was there for that is no longer.

Talking Rock: It must have been awesome to listen to those original tapes again. Now that’s lost and that’s really unfortunate.

Dave Meniketti: Well, when we were doing the re-masters of ‘Earthshaker’, ‘Black Tiger’, ‘Meanstreak’ and ‘In Rock We Trust’ – those were the four we chose. It was just me and the mastering engineer. Just physically picking those boxes up, seeing the person’s handwriting. Remembering that person! The inside of the box there’s a separate sheet in there with any other indications and explanations about where things are and what happened. Just all the stuff! All of that is just as important. It was important to me when I’m listening back to these things, coming right off the analog tape as we’re making the decision about what to do as far as EQ, compression and all that kind of stuff. I’ve got my headphones on and it’s bringing me back to the actual recording of that record. I can’t describe it any differently than that. There’s a difference to listening back to a CD or MP3. There is just something about the magic of the original analog tape being played back. It was pretty cool. That’s all I can say. I’m glad I had a chance to do that.

Talking Rock: Ah man, that is so awesome to hear. I actually wanted to ask you about a few of those albums. Let’s start with ‘Earthshaker’. That was produced by Bob Shulman and David Sieff. That was the first one on A&M. Such an honest rock record! Y&T still does a lot of that material live. Just us talking in general about these albums, what do you remember about the recording of that one?

Dave Meniketti: Well, that was an album that was an important one for us because we had just gotten a new record deal. With the first two records we did we were called Yesterday & Today and they were on London Records, which by the way, were also in Universal’s vault at one point because Universal took over all of London. They also took over all of Geffen. So everything that we did from 1976 thru 1990, is owned by Universal at one point or another along the way, but anyway, I diverted there. We had left London Records. We were without a record company for about two years or maybe three. When we got that deal it was ever so important for us because now we were much more matured. We had toured off of those first two Yesterday & Today records now for years. We had written a bunch of new songs and played them live. So we had some pretty matured new songs ready to go. We were so happy and excited to get this thing out there. So the whole process of recording this record and the thought pattern of, “Wow, I can’t wait till people hear this!” Of course with a new moniker, now slimmed down to just Y&T, instead of Yesterday & Today, it was the whole thing. It was like a resurgence for us that we just couldn’t wait. So it was a lot of anticipation. There was a lot of excitement while we were recording the record, as there is for any record that you’re recording. You always get excited behind it. We were younger kids, so there was just this particular type of anticipation and excitement that is pretty unique.

Talking Rock:  I think it shows on that album too! It’s just a great album. So moving to ‘Black Tiger’, you worked with Max Norman. I’m a big fan of his because I love a lot of his work. I think sonically there are some things that he does that a lot don’t do. So with that said, what was it like working with Max Norman?

Dave Meniketti: Max was fun. He was fun and he was hard. He was hard on us. It’s his way of doing things. He sort of likes to be the tyrant to get the best out of everybody. I totally understood that. He really was the first guy to seriously put the clamps on the rhythm section. I’m not going to say that David Seiff and Bob Shulman didn’t on ‘Earthshaker’. They did, but Max Norman really got on the drums and bass. When we were in pre-production in our rehearsal studio near our house, every single song was down to making sure that the bass and the bass drum were right on the money. There was no wasted rhythms. Everything was just really tight. When it came down to us recording in the studio – we did that record in England, he was brutal on Leonard [Haze] because Leonard had this thing about getting excited and speeding up. All that kind of stuff that we did live naturally. Max was just not going to have that. He was on Leonard like crazy man. So it was interesting. It was kind interesting to be there and watch that happen. It had a lot to do with the final of how the record came out.

Talking Rock: I listen to that first Lynch Mob album a lot because he produced it and there is a bunch of percussion stuff on it that really pops out. I often wonder, “How the heck did he do that?”

Dave Meniketti: Right. Now I hadn’t seen him since 1982. I was there through every bit of that record. Then when he actually did the mix, we did those at The Record Plant. I flew down and was with him when he was doing the mixes. It was just the two of us in there. That was the last time I saw him which was somewhere about mid-1982. He just recently came out to a show while we were doing a US tour. I think it was last year? Yeah, it was. Last year we were playing B.B. King’s in New York City, just off of Times Square. That was a really cool place to play. It’s no longer there anymore for us to play. So he was there at that show and we spent about an hour afterwards just sitting at the stage and he actually started to cry. He started to tear up about the whole thing. He says, “Man, I really miss you guys!” The whole thing with Leonard [Haze], Joey [Alves] and Phil [Kennemore] passing away and us being the only two left that would have been involved with that record. It was just a very emotional meeting. Max is a good guy. That’s all I can say. It was great to see him and catch up again.

Talking Rock: Man, that’s a great story. Thank you for sharing that. So moving to ‘Meanstreak’, Chris Tsangrides – and he just recently passed away.

Dave Meniketti: He passed away. He’s in our documentary. It’s really tough to see that particular part of the documentary when he was in it because he’s such a sweetheart of a guy. He did a great job with ‘Meanstreak’!

Talking Rock: The song “Meanstreak” itself – I still listen to that all the time. It’s on my IPOD in the car. That opening riff is so good. I’ve always loved that song. It’s just one of those powerful songs that gets you pumped up. Now, just looking at the names of producers – on ‘In Rock We Trust’ it was Tom Allom. In terms of hard rock those are some serious names.

Dave Meniketti: Yes, yes. Again, we were really happy. Three out of four of those producers we mentioned so far, are all British producers. Tom Allom, Chris Tsangrides and Max Norman. Three in a row with Brits! So we did a lot of drinking. Let’s put it that way [laughs]. Not me, but the producers did!

Talking Rock: And getting to ‘In Rock We Trust’, I was watching some of the old videos and looking at the cover with the robot. I remember all that back in the 80’s with seeing the robot in the videos. How did that ever come about?

Dave Meniketti: Ahh, I think we were sitting around in the break room of the studio and discussing what we wanted the cover to be like. We had loved the artwork from ‘Black Tiger’ and ‘Meanstreak’, which was done by John Taylor Dismukes. We just thought, “Oh man!” He was ready to do this next one and we’re like, “What do we want to do on this one that he can really do his artistic thing through?” So we were thinking about “Rock n’ Roll Is Gonna Save The World”, which is one of the main tracks on the record. We just sort of theorized this whole thing. “How about, this rock super hero that is literally out there to save the world?” [Laughs] We were just having fun with it! We thought, “Maybe he can do something with that?” So then he came up with this robot sort of character that had a guitar in his hand. I remember, again, getting the first versions of those being sent to us while we were in the studio recording, taking a break and looking at those and mowing over them. So that’s how it kind of started.

Talking Rock: That’s cool. It was more or less used on “In Rock We Trust’ and ‘Down For The Count’.

Dave Meniketti: Well yeah, it was mainly on the ‘In Rock We Trust’ record. “Summertime Girls” was released on the ‘Down For The Count’ record and also the live record which was just a really strange thing. Of course we had the robot at the end of the “Summertime Girls” video.

Talking Rock: With “Down For The Count”, the whole premise of the album cover itself is hilarious because “The Count” is on the cover right?

Dave Meniketti: Right and I’ll tell you how we did that one. We had nothing to do with it [laughs]. It was our A&R guy and he was honest during the course of that record. He was really on top of us. His name is Carter. Carter was involved with Sammy Hagar when Sammy was with Capitol Records. He’d been around. Carter had a painting of that cover hanging on his wall in his apartment forever. I guess he just kind of thought, “This will be fun and funny! I’m gonna show the guys. Here’s the painting and we’re gonna call it Down For The Count!” [Laughs]It was prophetic in the end because we were ‘Down For The Count’ with A&M Records after that record.

Talking Rock: So ‘Open Fire’ came out before that record correct?”

Dave Meniketti: Correct.

Talking Rock: “Go For The Throat” was on that one as a live recording? The version that was on ‘Hear N’ Aid’ – was that live as well or was that a studio version?

Dave Meniketti: That was a studio version because we had been asked by Ronnie James Dio and their crew to come up with something different that we did not have on a previous record for the ‘Hear N’ Aid’ album. We thought, “You know, we only did Go For The Throat live, let’s do a studio version!” So we went into a studio in Berkeley that we had done a couple of records in called Fantasy Studios. We spent a couple days doing that track. In fact we used the engineer that engineered the first couple of Van Halen records. He was the guy that did that one. He did a great job. It sounds great.

Talking Rock: Years later when I initially heard ‘Open Fire’, as I was listening to “Go For The Throat”, I was thinking, “Wait a second, on Hear N’ Aid, it wasn’t live!” Regardless, I love that song. It’s a great tune.

Dave Meniketti: A lot of fans, still to this day, you’ll hear them shout that out at one of our shows or something. Every once in awhile I’ll hear it, if we have the time or we’re not on a curfew, then I’ll play it right there on the spot.

Talking Rock: That is awesome. So moving to ‘Contagious’, you moved to Geffen Records. It seemed like with Geffen, they kind of changed the band – I am not sure if they changed the dynamic of the band or it just seemed a little more commercial. Were you comfortable with that?

Dave Meniketti: Well, you know, I didn’t really think of that as commercial to me. I guess what happened was that John Kalodner at Geffen had decided on his own to bring in an outside songwriter to work with us for a couple tunes. That turned out to be Taylor Rhodes. Taylor and I got together and wrote “Contagious”. He came up with some of the stuff on ‘Contagious’ that I personally would not have written, but it was just a sign of the times. So that may have been the thing that you think of when you think of more commercial. That song especially.

Talking Rock:  I think maybe it was more the change of the look. I think that is why I said that. I hope that that’s not insulting to you? It’s still a great record.

Dave Meniketti: Oh, no, no, no. Most people usually say those two things. Both commercial and change of look on ‘Down For The Count’ because that’s the one that usually upset most fans. Not ‘Contagious’, but yeah, it was a different time and a couple of years later because it took a couple of years to sort of transition over to a new record company. Of course we’re using the same producer that did ‘Down For The Count’.

Talking Rock: Kevin Beamish.

Dave Meniketti: Yeah, Kevin Beamish, to which many people thought was our most commercial record, so I guess that makes sense but the way that he mixes and everything is much more along the lines of melody first with the commercial sort of vibe to it. There is some pretty hard stuff on ‘Contagious’. Songs like ‘Eyes Of A Stranger’ and things like that. It’s an interesting record. I really like that record. It was the first time we put an instrumental on a record which was “I’ll Cry For You”. It’s a very unique record.

Talking Rock: It is a great record. I like “Boys Nite Out” and “Kid Goes Crazy” – that’s a fantastic song. I wanted to actually ask about ‘Temptation’. I saw Danger Danger bassist Bruno Ravel at the M3 this past May. I was joking with him about the spelling of his name in the credits. I asked if it was spelt different back then, but in truth it is indeed spelt wrong on the liner notes.

Dave Meniketti: It’s funny that Jimmy [DeGrasso] wouldn’t have caught that because Jimmy was in a band with Bruno Ravel. So wow, nobody knew that.

Talking Rock: I think it says, ‘Bruno Raveli”. Him and I kind of laughed about it. I guess that was more or less an outside song as well.

Dave Meniketti: It was an outside song. It was because of Jimmy that that song was brought in. Jimmy remembered that they wrote this song while he was in this band with Bruno and also Al Pitrelli. He said, “Man, we should do that song because those guys aren’t doing anything with it!” So we said, “Alright, let’s listen to it!” We ended up doing our own spin on it. We put a couple of different lyrics in it and changed a few things, but it’s really cool!

Talking Rock: It’s a cool tune for sure. I have the Danger Danger demos entitled “Rare Cuts”. They did release the song on that album years later. I already knew the Y&T version, so when I heard it on that, I already knew the song.

Dave Meniketti: Well, that was the version we heard when we worked ours. That was the demo of it.

Talking Rock: Oh that’s interesting. So now we move to ‘Ten’. That is one of my favorite Y&T albums. I still listen to it a lot.

Dave Meniketti: It is a great record. It really is.

Talking Rock:  There’s a lot of depth on that album. There’s a lot of different styles. ‘City’ is one of my favorite tunes. I love ‘Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark’. Was that not a Taylor Rhodes song as well?

Dave Meniketti: That was Taylor! Exactly! We stuck with him for the next record. [laughs]

Talking Rock: It wasn’t a typical Y&T song, but emotionally your voice on that song really fit and you did such a great job with that vocal.

Dave Meniketti: Thank you

Talking Rock: I think that’s one of the things that made that song so good. After that album was done, you split from Geffen.

Dave Meniketti: Well, that was the end of our career as far as we thought at that time because we were so frustrated with Geffen, as we were frustrated with A&M. We just didn’t have good timing. Let’s put it that way. When it came to American record companies and I say American because the European versions of those record companies and the Japanese versions of those record companies all knocked it out of the park. They did great jobs for us. The American version… [laughs].

Talking Rock:  That seems so weird to me!

Dave Meniketti: It’s just the way it was. It was bad timing. The time to be on Geffen was definitely not then. They were really focusing on Guns N’ Roses at the time. That was their main focus because they knew that there was a big buzz of them worldwide and the people couldn’t wait to hear that so that was the big push. They were pushing Guns N’ Roses. They were pushing the bringing Aerosmith back to the label and coming out with these great new records. Whitesnake too! We were up against those three heavy hitters when we released ‘Contagious’ and the ‘Ten’ record. We just got lost in the shuffle. They literally just didn’t give a shit about us by the time the ‘Ten’ record came out. They literally told our manager, “Ah, we’re not going to release a second single! We don’t care! You’re done! We’re not picking you up!” So after two years of putting that record together and doing the best we could, making a fantastic record with multiple great songs on it, they just threw it away. That was it!

Talking Rock:  That’s horrible. I remember when I initially bought the tape back when it came out and I listened to it over and overthinking, “This is such a great album!” Then one single and that was it! It just seemed so odd to me. That’s the music business and like you say Geffen was promoting other things at the time. Y&T wasn’t in the cards.

Dave Meniketti: I had made a decision before that got released – with the band! I just told the guys, “Look, we have been banging our heads against such resistance within the industry for so many years in a row now!” From like 1985 on I’d say. We were getting a lot of flack from people in the industry. Not the fans and people just basically sitting on their hands when they should be working things because that’s their job. I just said, “Look it, we’re so frustrated after doing this for so long and running up against such a backlash from these people that are supposed to be helping us that if they don’t do anything with this record I think it’s time for us to go our separate ways and do something else!” As soon as we released that first single, “Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark” and did a really good video for it. That’s probably one of my favorite videos we did because it’s all performance for the most part. They never played it on MTV. If they ever did, they probably played it ten times at the most.

Talking Rock: Or it was at 3 in the morning.

Dave Meniketti: Yeah, exactly. So that didn’t work and then we were putting the tour together, getting ready to go out and they just basically said, “Ahh, never mind!” So we said, “The hell with this! Why even tour on a record that is dead already!” We pulled our tour and said, “Alright, let’s do a couple of local shows up and down California, call it a ‘farewell tour’ and that will be it!” That’s exactly what we did. We were done, never to see each other again for another year or two or three, depending on what was we were doing. Finally, we said, “What are we doing? This sucks. We don’t care about these record companies! If they suck or not, we still sound so good as a band, let’s just go out and play and have fun!” That’s kind of what we did. We just kind of came back on the scene locally and then Japan heard about that and said, “Are you guys back? If you are, would you be interested in doing a record for us?” Then we did two records in a row for them in the 90’s. We didn’t do much touring because grunge was in at the time and grunge took everybody out. They wiped the slate clean of everybody before. If you were not a new artist at the end 80’s or the early 90’s, but you were an artist in the mid 80’s or 70’s, forget it! You were not going to have a gig to go to. Nobody was going to care about you as far as the press was concerned, the venue owners or the promoters. We were getting shut down. So luckily that went away as far as that attitude. Come the early 2000’s, it sort of all came back around again. So it was okay. It was tough times for everyone.

Talking Rock: It was hard as a fan. It sucked. It was horrible. If you were a fan of hard rock and all of a sudden you can’t buy it anywhere. You can’t go see it live or if you do go see it live, only 10 people are showing up.

Dave Meniketti: Yeah, the best thing they did at that time, which we were not involved with was the “Rock Never Stops” tour in the 90’s. They would take 4 or 5 of the bands that were still together or like I said, bands that pretty much just started their career at the end of the 80’s, they were still sort of current, they took those bands and they would go out on tour every year. That would appease the fans that were into the music style that had come before, but outside of that, I don’t think those bands went on a tour of their own because they couldn’t afford to do it. Nobody would book them. I stopped going to NAMM shows after while in the 90’s because I’d see guys from Ratt or Dokken, any number of people at these shows and they’d all just be complaining, going, “What are you doing?” “I don’t know! What am I doing? We can’t get a gig!”[Laughs] I was just like, “I don’t want to talk about it anymore! This is depressing!”

Talking Rock:  As I was researching for our interview and going through the albums, I didn’t realize that current guitarist John Nymann sang background vocals on a bunch of the albums in the 80’s.

Dave Meniketti: Yes he did. John went out on tour with us for a couple of years and he was singing backgrounds on tour. It was just a thing that we did when we came out with “Summertime Girls” and a few other songs that were heavily backgrounded vocal-oriented, we just said, “Well you know, let’s try it out and get John to come out on the road with us and have that extra background vocal to do it!” We didn’t want to do tapes or anything like that. We wanted the real performances with actual people on stage and so we did that. We did it for two years and he was around the band that whole time, so when we were recording the records he was there. We brought him in to be an extra voice to fill up the background vocals because my voice is actually – even though it doesn’t sound like it, my voice is actually in the high range, so whenever we’re doing harmonies we usually go a third above me and nobody could sing that because it was too far up. I’d either do the background part myself or we’d have somebody do it falsetto or we’d bring in a guy like John Nymann to scream it out. That was helping us get a lot of those harmony parts.

Talking Rock: It was very cool that he ended up being the rhythm guitar player in Y&T later on and that voice is on the albums, so that works live.

Dave Meniketti: Yeah, I always tell people that John was a virtual band member from almost the very beginning, but certainly from 1984 on. John was the first guy that I met as a musician when Leonard and I first got together starting Yesterday & Today doing cover tunes. I remember that I joined with Leonard with a couple of guys that he already had in his band and John Nymann rode over to Leonard’s house on his bicycle to hear us practice. He was a fan immediately and he really got into my guitar playing I guess at the time. It was interesting that I’ve known John since before we were even a real original band. It was so great to finally get him in the band when we had the opportunity to do that.

Talking Rock: Speaking of those early days, I went on YouTube and there is a show – a 1974 Yesterday & Today show at Winterland. That whole show is on You Tube. It’s absolutely amazing. Ironically enough, that show was recorded on the day I was born. November 19th, 1974. When I was watching it I didn’t clue in at first, then I looked at the date, low and behold!

Dave Meniketti: That is awesome! That was me with my fuzzy head. I had the most giant hair you could ever imagine. [Laughs]

Talking Rock: It was awesome to see because at one point, I believe the second song Leonard sings.

Dave Meniketti: Yes he did. He was singing “Alcohol” or any number of things at that time. That was a holdover from when we were doing cover tunes. When we were doing cover tunes we’d do four one hour sets when we’d play these shows doing other peoples tunes before we had the whole original band together and Leonard would sing some of those songs. I was not the lead singer per say. We were all singing. Everybody had a shot at singing. That was a holdover from those days.

Talking Rock: That was really cool. Phil sang that song with those Beatles type harmony. It was cool to watch. To see the band in the early days and it was a different dynamic. It gave you a little bit more – if one of those guys were singing, you’re playing leads during that. I really dug watching that. I will ask, have you watched ‘The Dirt’, the Motley Crue biopic?

Dave Meniketti: I have yet to see it. I know that they have the whole thing in there of their very first show in L.A. and they opened for us. It’s slightly different than that. Well, it’s actually quite different from then how I think they portrayed it. First of all, their singer did not jump off the stage and get into a fight with anybody. It was two sold-out shows packed to the rafters and it was done at a different venue than what they show in the movie. It was called The Starwood. The Starwood was the venue to playback then for Rock N’ Roll. They just categorized it slightly differently. It was them opening for us for their very first show.

Talking Rock: I am pretty sure I have one of those shows on a bootleg DVD somewhere. You can tell they’re young and it’s early in their career. That’s all I’ll say.

Dave Meniketti: True! I know. Phil and I – I remember standing up there on the balcony and watching their set because we were told, “You know, they have this guy who’s putting a lot of money behind them!” He was just a nobody. A ‘Joe-Blow’ kind of dude. “He’s buying them effects to do live and stuff like that!” You know, pyro and things like that. So we knew that they were trying to be an up and coming band, so we watched a little bit of their set.

Talking Rock: So ironically enough it would be the ‘Theatre of Pain’ tour that Y&T would open for them?

Dave Meniketti: Yes, exactly, just the two of us for probably about two and a half months. You know you go through different phases in a career and it’s really cool that it all comes around. You get to see each other playing again and have something to do with each other. Maybe you play a festival together sometimes or you play on a tour together. That’s what’s fun about playing these Monsters of Rock Cruises that we do every year because they have so many of the bands that were around when we were maybe in the mid-time of our career that we never got a chance to see ourselves, so we get to see them while we’re on the ship or we get to hang with them in the in-between times when neither of us is playing. Just hang at a bar or go see other bands together. So, it’s fun.

Talking Rock: I felt the same way at the M3 Festival. With it being 3 days of bands, it was a lot of bands I had never seen. That’s a fantastic event for hard rock. Before I let you go, I have one more question. I take it with the Y&T schedule, the Meniketti project is more or less no more? Will you ever do another album with that band?

Dave Meniketti: Let’s just say it’s on hiatus. It’s not ‘no more’ because there’s nothing ‘no more’ yet. Anything could happen. It’s on the way-back burner because we have other projects that we’re in the middle of. I mean the documentary is coming out and will be out before the end of the year. That’s a certainty. Of course, we’re done with all of that stuff. We had nothing to do with the actual making of the documentary that was done by two fellas. They’ve done a great job. We’ve seen the final product weeks ago. It’s ready to go, we’re just getting all the clearances for the songs that are in there from all the places that we have to get clearances from, which means we have to spend a ton of money to put our own songs in our own documentary [laughs]. It’s just the way the music business is. So while we’re waiting for those clearances, we can’t release it. That’s the only thing that’s putting it back a little bit. We think we’re probably timing-wise because we have a two-month European tour coming up that we’ll probably release it as soon as we get home from that, so it will probably be mid to late November. Somewhere around then.

Talking Rock: Will it be in theaters? How will it be presented?

Dave Meniketti: We don’t know yet. It’s too early to say. In order to get any theater to consider it, it has to be done. All the clearances have to be put down and agreed to on paper. No theater will play anything because they don’t want to get in trouble with anyone. If they don’t think the clearances have been made for all of the copy-written material that’s inside of it, so there’s nothing we can do with that yet, but we will have a local premiere at a local cinema. We don’t know exactly where that’s going to be, but we have two or three places in mind that we think might be really cool.

Talking Rock: Fantastic! I can’t wait to see it!

Dave Meniketti: It’s gonna be great because there’s also going to be an extra DVD that is two hours long that’s going to have all kinds of stuff on it that it just an extra thing. It’s going to be available as a separate item at some point as well or as a DVD package. It’s some good, fun stuff on there. A lot of good, really interesting stuff! If you’re a Y&T fan, I think you’re just going to go crazy for this.

Talking Rock: Well, I’ll watch for it for sure because it’s been a long time! It’s been on the go for a number of years.

Dave Meniketti: Yep. We had these two guys that are fantastic at their jobs, but they didn’t know the scope of it. They just couldn’t foresee all the work that was going to be involved and literally talking to a hundred different people plus. Then taking all of the stuff from every one of us that we had archived material of that they had to archive for themselves because I’d give them ten boxes of slides that they’d then have to archive into digital. I’d then have archives of cassettes and VHS’s. All these different things coming in. Reel to reel tapes and they’d have to put that to digital. So there was a lot of work involved. More than they could have ever imagined. I think it was probably three to four times longer than they thought it was going to take.  At the end of the day, even though some people got upset – we always knew it was going to come out. You know we’re never going to rip someone off or anything. It was just a matter of, “You know we’ve got  to give these guys the time it takes them to do it right!” And it’s done! It’s just sitting there waiting for us to get the clearances done. It’s going to be great.

Talking Rock: Well Dave, I wish you the best of luck with the documentary. Anyways, I will not keep you any longer. Thank you very much! It was a pleasure and an honor.

Dave Meniketti: Well thank you, man. I appreciate that.

Talking Rock: Take care!

Dave Meniketti: Bye, bye!

Y&T at M3 2018. Photo by Nick Dumont.

 

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