Rock veteran John Waite has his eye on two different projects — in two different formats these days. On the recording front, the English musician has just released a new live album entitled “Live All Access.” The singer tells Billboard that the decision to record a live album stemmed from the positive vibes he has felt playing with a new guitarist in his band by the name of Keri Kelli.
“Kerri came to us a few months ago. He had played with Alice Cooper and Slash. He came to say hello, and we clicked, and played some dates together. About two months into it, he really kind of got it. It’s a tough thing to be in a three piece band with a singer. It’s like everyone having their own corner in a boxing ring. You can’t take your eye off the ball for a second. You’ve got to really be in the moment, and be able to improvise.” he stressed.
Apparently, Kelli got the hang of it. “We got to that point very quickly, and after about two months, it went through my head that I needed to record it, even if we just gave it to radio, or put it on b-sides or bonus tracks.”
What started as just a few tracks would up becoming much more. “It turned into a record. I booked time in Philly Sound, which is an old church in south Philly that has a studio to the side of it that holds about 350 people. On the radio, we announced a free gig, bought about three kegs of beer. That got the audience slightly off of their legs, and we rocked the house,” he said with a laugh.
Though his feelings have changed about the travel involved getting to a show, that time on stage is still priceless. “It’s the reason you do it. Flying is so miserable these days. You have to go through security, and get up at the crack of dawn. Also, we’ve seen a lot of America. When you’re a kid, you wanted to see Detroit, or New York City. There’s things you made a list of, like seeing the Ryman in Nashville. Once you’ve got that crossed off, and you’re familiar with the territory, it’s about the show. When you’re young, it’s about everything and the show. Everything else just gets in the way of getting to the show. You walk out, and do the most incredible things out of adrenaline. Whether you have a cold, or you feel like a million bucks, you give it everything you got.”
Waite is also watching the chart progress of the latest single from country duo Love and Theft, “If You Ever Get Lonely.” which he helped to write. “I’m thrilled about it,” he said. “Every time we announce the song from the stage, we give them a plug. I’ve always loved Country, folk, and the acoustic end of music. Western music was really my roots. Marty Robbins was one of the first singers that really hit me hard. Love and Theft seem like great guys, and work seven days a week. They’re always on the road. They deserve a hit, whether I wrote it or not. It would be a lovely thing to see it go all the way,” he says hopefully.
Nashville has been a place of artistic triumph for the singer. He has enjoyed a top 40 remake of his 80s classic, “Missing You” with Alison Krauss, which led to an even bigger experience. “I played the Ryman with Alison, and Vince Gill came on and guested on guitar. It was like stopping a clock, one of the biggest moments of my life. It meant so much to me.” He also says he has fond memories of being exposed to the music of bluegrass legends Del McCoury and Larry Sparks. “They are such amazing musicians, and genuine people,” says Waite.
The singer just returned home to California after a trip back home to Manchester, England to visit his mother. He says he finds it ironic that when you enter the town, the first thing you see is none other than Kentucky Fried Chicken! “I was back there, and they are repainting that. I hate seeing that coming into such an ancient town. We have a castle and everything, They repaired the whole front, so it looks pretty good now!”