Interview- David Glen Eisley (Giuffria/Dirty White Boy)

David Glen Eisley
Interview
October 2011
By Joseph Suto

 

From the Where Are They Now file, we recently had the chance to catch up with former Giuffria/Dirty White Boy singer David Glen Eisley. There really isn’t much information regarding Giuffria on the internet. Of course Giuffria was a hard rock outfit named after former Angel keyboardist Gregg Giuffria. The band also featured axeslinger Craig Goldy of Dio fame, along with bassist Chuck Wright who played with Quiet Riot and House Of Lords. Alan Krigger was the drummer. The band signed to MCA Records in 1984. The self-titled debut album, Giuffria, soon followed peaking at #26 on the album charts and featured two hit singles, “Call To The Heart” (Hot 100 #15) and “Lonely In Love” (Hot 100 #57). We hope after reading what David had to say this will shed some light on this great band. So without further adieu here’s David!

Rock Show Critique: What are you currently up to? Any plans to release some new music?

David Glen Eisley: My daughter India has Underworld 4 coming out in January she did with Kate Beckinsale. She’s pretty much spoken for now, we got her on the boards rolling pretty good. So I’ve been taking care of all her business and semi-managing her for the last god, I guess its been four years. So I can pay attention to me a little bit more. I’ve got a bunch of stuff kinda semi-written. It’s just getting into the studio now and narrowing down what 20 odd tracks I want to try and cut. I’m dying to get something out and get back on the road. I see buddies of mine whether it be Craig Goldy or Chuck Wright and I spoke to Gregg (Giuffria) about a month ago and I’m still in touch with everybody. Everybody asks me the same dumb question you do (laughs) Dude what are you doing? They know about India so they know what’s happening with what my whole scene has been lately.

RSC: So the new music would that be released as a solo album?

DGE: Yeah it would be a solo thing. The solo thing I would definitely do that. When Gregg and I spoke a month ago there is a remote possibility that he and I may do something together, not a band situation, but just the two of us. We wrote all the Giuffria stuff pretty much it was usually just Gregg and myself. So you know there’s a chance we may do it because we don’t have anybody to answer to.

RSC: Let me take you back in time. How did you land the gig as vocalist for Giuffria?

DGE: Well actually Punky and Gregg had Angel and they were trying to put Angel back together. I was just hitting the streets. I was singing with just about anybody I could get in a room with. Some bass player turned Gregg on to my number. And I hadn’t done anything at that point and this was back in 82’ if we want to date ourselves (laughs). I went and auditioned and we hit it off the first day. We wrote a couple of tunes the first day we met and we built a relationship from there. Then it fell apart. Nothing really happened and about a year and a half later Gregg called and said let’s give it another whack. We cut some tracks and got signed to Camel/MCA that’s how that happened.

RSC: What was it like playing the big stages opening for Foreigner back then?

DGE: It was great. There’s nothing like playing the 20,000 seaters. And prior to Foreigner we were on the Deep Purple tour, the Perfect Strangers tour, the original lineup with them, which was exciting from the standpoint that Purple was such a great band. But they left something to be desired as people. They didn’t expect us to be what we were. They hired us on based on “Call To The Heart” which was a cool song, but it was more or less the Eagles meet Journey. I don’t think they expected that when we hit the stage. It was kinda like these cats were not what we thought they were. They were uncomfortable with that. They made the whole tour basically pretty uncomfortable for us. They were shortening our sets, not giving us half the lights, half the sound, they were messing with us pretty good. Then we got offered the Foreigner tour. They were great, a bunch of sweethearts. You couldn’t ask to be touring with two totally diverse bands, both really great bands in their own right. It was a good experience.

RSC: So what caused the line-up to change after that tour?

DGE: You know internal nonsense. Gregg was having a weird time at that period of his life. He basically said some things I think that I don’t think he meant, some derogatory stuff in terms of the record company heads. And there was some inner turmoil because of that. Just behavioral things out on the road. Ya know it gets really weird out there. You need to really keep your shit together or you can be at each other’s throats at the drop of a hat. Chuck was having some problems with Gregg. Goldy cut his teeth as a young kid with Ronnie (God rest his soul). So we were in Japan finishing up when the shit hit the fan. Chuck couldn’t deal with Gregg any more, Gregg couldn’t deal with Chuck any more. Goldy saw what was going down and he just figured maybe I’ll go play with Ronnie for a while cause Ronnie asked me if I’d like to. So we got Dave Sikes and Lanny Cordova. I actually found Lanny, he’s a mind boggling guitar player I said this kid is great so let’s go with him. Dave had been playing with Aldo Nova, if you remember Aldo Nova. It was ok it wasn’t the same deal. It just wasn’t the same original feel any more. Not to say there wasn’t a couple of tunes on it that were ok. It just wasn’t the same vibe.

RSC: On that tour you also played a song called “Keep On Believing”, Was it ever recorded?

DGE: No it was a song called “Straight To The Top” actually. Gregg and I wrote that. That was one of the first things we ever wrote. We played it live but I don’t think we ever put it under the microscope and developed it to where we were comfortable enough to record it. I think if we sat down and really dissected it, it could’ve turned into a halfway decent record. But we never got around to it.

RSC: I remember seeing it live during the Foreigner tour. I thought it was something that would be on the next album.

DGE: It’s funny that you remembered it because I don’t ever remember playing it live, but I guess we did. But I remember Foreigner in Buffalo now that you mention that. I remember that whole period, I remember half the band checking out the Falls. I stayed back at the hotel with some gal and I didn’t go see the Falls. I remember that’s weird.

RSC: Are there any more tracks from that era that will see the light of day?

DGE: After we got back from Japan, Me and Gregg wrote some more songs that ended up being used on the first House Of Lords record. Which I had nothing to do with. At that point I had run into Earl Slick. Funny enough Earl and I had gotten together in 1980 with Nicky Hopkins and Phil Chen and Frankie Banali. There was a two week band that put together where we were supposed to be backed by some people. The money never came in and hence it only lasted about three weeks. I ran into Slick again in 88’ after Gregg and I decided we’re just not gonna get anything happening. The he went and put the Lords together and I had run into Slick and we put Dirty White Boy together. The only other tracks that had been cut ended up on the first House Of Lords record. The original tracks that I had written with him, with my vocals, those were just demos ended up on an album of mine called The Lost Tapes, they were just the rough outs that they went and re-cut several of them for the House Of Lords record. Slick and I put together Dirty White Boy which once again was bad timing in the sense of rock n roll. We toured Europe and that was really great. Everything back in the states was coming apart at the seams when Nirvana hit.

RSC: So you never toured the states with Dirty White Boy?

DGE: No. We were in Stockholm at the end of the European tour, which was going well. The promoter’s were telling us nothing was happening, Polygram is dismantling, the whole regime that we signed to was at the tail end of the regime that had Def Leppard, Bon Jovi and all that. It was all coming to a close, because of the whole grunge thing the whole business went totally upside down. We came back to full page ads of the album that never came out. Magazine leads are six to eight weeks. They said you may as well not go home, you’re better off staying here in Europe. For practical purposes there really wasn’t. We came back to no support, no company, no nothing. It was pathetically funny.

RSC: What was the whole House of Lords situation? Were you originally supposed to be in the band?

DGE: No No No. At that point when Gregg was putting the House Of Lords together, Gregg and I were sitting in the record company at the end of the day goin “You know what we can’t take this any further, I’ll talk to you later Good Luck with whatever you’re gonna do and I’m gonna go try do something else”, The next thing I heard Gene Simmons saying We got Lanny from Giuffria and we fired Dave (laughs), it was the furthest thing from the truth. I was never there to be fired. I had nothing to do with House Of Lords nor did I want anything to do with it. They found James and went in and he did his best imitation of me at least on my songs. He probably sang them better than I would. But I had nothing to do with that band other than knowing Gregg and knowing Chuck and knowing Lanny. I had nothing do to with it and didn’t have any care to have anything to do with it. But oddly enough Dirty White Boy ends up signed to Polygram which is where Kiss lives. I ran into Gene and looked at him and said Dude you didn’t fire me, I wasn’t ever in the band, I didn’t know the band was put together. How can I be fired?

RSC: I saw a reference to that somewhere and thought that was weird.

DGE: Eh it was stupid. Funny enough I talked to Gregg about a month ago and he never ever addressed that whole period of time. He said to me “Listen Dave I gotta apologize, I‘m really sorry that I even went ahead without asking you to keep going with me”. And I said Gregg it doesn’t matter it all happened the way it was supposed to happen. He said “I just gotta get that off my chest”. It made me feel good Cause he’s an old old friend. I really didn’t expect him to say anything like that. But it was nice for him to say that. Maybe he and I will do something again. The way we used to write, Gregg would set up this massive keyboard gear, and I was originally a drummer years ago. And that’s how we wrote. We had a big drum kit and a big keyboard kit and the two of us would lock ourselves away in a room blasting the walls down. That’s how we wrote 2/3 of all the Giuffria stuff. Then we would bring in the band. We’d play the songs for them and they just start flowing in with guitar parts and bass parts. That’s how Gregg and I usually worked. So if we do it again we’ve talked about me coming over to Vegas, his son’s got a big kit. He’s got his shit set up somewhere. We’ll lock ourselves away and see if we can blast each other’s heads off. Maybe the logo would be a big light bulb and we just call it GE, I don’t know (laughs).

RSC: Silk & Steel is one of the most underrated albums of all-time at least to me. Would you consider this album your greatest vocal accomplishment?

DGE: No you know I think there is some stuff off the first record and there’s some stuff off Silk & Steel. The first album is a more harder edged version of the band where Silk & Steel was a little more melodic stuff going on. I think I was singing more not careful, but a little smoother than on the first record, I think there is a mix and match between the two records in terms of vocal. I remember “Call To The Heart” I remember really developing that song. “Call To The Heart” was a little more mapped out. There’s good to that and there’s bad to that. Whereas Silk & Steel I mapped some stuff out a little bit more. Some things I particularly thought were ok and some things naw I didn’t quite hit the way I would have liked. The harder stuff on Silk & Steel, I don’t think I really hit it like I would have liked to in hindsight. The more ballady stuff I hit it pretty much where I wanted it to be, I don’t know how else I can describe.

Giuffria's final album the illustrious Silk & Steel

RSC: What songs off Silk & Steel would you have picked as singles?

DGE: I would have picked “Love You Forever”. I think “Love You Forever” as a song could’ve been covered by a ton of different people. I wish we would’ve been able to get that tune out in a coverable situation. At that point in time, if country music was where it is today, I think undoubtably that song would’ve been covered by some major country artists. Some chick would’ve covered it and put it through the roof. You gotta remind me of some of the titles.

RSC: Change Of Heart was a great song.

DGE: “Change Of Heart” was a song of mine that I brought in, we were a song or two short on the record. That was a song I had written back in 1980. Funny enough it was with a band that I did the first soundtrack to the 2nd Cheech and Chong record. We did all the music for it. And I wrote “Change Of Heart” which had nothing to do with Cheech and Chong so I brought it into Gregg and said I’ll just slap both our names on there. Which I had no problem with but that was a song I wrote three years before I even met Gregg.

RSC: No Escape was a great opening track.

DGE: “No Escape” was a cool tune, an interesting song it was a little bit different. I remember distinctly writing it. I remember lyrically it was my “Hotel California” cause it was really all about the business and how the record companies basically have your balls on a platter and there’s nothing you could do about it. There was no way getting out of it. That was what “No Escape” was all about.

RSC: Did you guys tour for Silk & Steel at all?

DGE: No No. It was really kind of an unfortunate thing. At that point that was right around 86’ or 87’. What happened was MCA didn’t promote it at all. They didn’t push it to where it would enable us to get on another tour. The whole thing fizzled out. That’s where me and Gregg disbanded the band as it was and started writing again, which was the stuff as I said before, that ended up on the House Of Lords record. And we had parted ways. MCA was not a particularly good label to be on at that time if you were a rock and roll band. If you were a country rock band you were in the right place. But if you were a rock and roll band you were in one of the most horrible places you can possibly be.

1990 DWB debut and only album

Before the interview ended David brought up Dirty White Boy’s lone release and why he thought it really wasn’t all that it could be.

DGE: It was produced by Beau Hill, who was just hell bent to produce the record. He may have done Ratt justice and he may have done Winger justice but Dirty White Boy was the furthest thing from either one of those bands. It was supposed to be a blues rock based band. Obviously the way Slick plays. That record really caught it in the ass by poor production and not letting us really do what we honestly wanted to do. Some of the songs were recorded and demoed that ended up on the “Lost Tapes” are more reflective on how the band should of sounded and those were basically done with a beer can and a roll of twine. It was really a drag, Beau had no idea how to produce the band let alone a guitar player like Slick. It upset Slick and it upset all of us just a bad experience. It ripped a lot of assholes out there live. It was a great band out there in Europe.

Special thanks to David Glen Eisley for all his time for this interview. We would also like to thank David for the use of his personal photos.

Also a shout out to fellow webmaster Andrew McNeice. Check out his great site at www.melodicrock.com

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