King Kobra, Keel, Schoolboys / Icon, Lizzy Borden guitarist
David Michael-Philips
aka David Herzerling

FIBM:  What's new, what have you been up to lately and what's in the future?

David:  I have a new band called Big C8ck. It's old school, in-your-face rock 'n roll that makes you want to grab your babe, pound some brews and roll down the windows, blasting the car stereo. It features me (King Kobra, Keel, Lizzy Borden, of course), Robert Mason (Lynch Mob, Cry of Love) and my buddies John Covington and Colby.

FIBM:  You were in the band Schoolboys, before they changed their name to Icon. How long were you in the band and why did you leave?

David:  John Covington and I were both in the Schoolboys. In fact, the song "Mean Street Machine" had its origins back in those days and Icon even recorded it for their first album. I left the Schoolboys to do more of my own style of music, which is more melodic hard rock. The rest of the band wanted to go in a more metal direction.

FIBM:   Didn't you guys release a 4 song demo? How many copies were you able to sell? Do you own a copy? Will it ever be re-released?

David:  We made a 4 song EP called "Singin', Shoutin'". I think we only pressed 1000 copies and I still have a few. No plans to release it, though.

FIBM:   Whatever happened to Stephen Clifford? Do you talk to any of those guys?

David:  I heard he became a Christian artist. I see Dan Wexler every once in a while. He's a great guy and talented guitar player.

FIBM:  Did you help write any songs that appeared on the Icon self-titled release?

David:  Only "Mean Street Machine", but that didn't make it to their record.

FIBM:  Do you agree that Phoenix Az has the best mexican food in the world? Have you ever had a Cheese Crisp?

David:  Actually, L.A. has more great Mexican food restaurants than Phoenix. My favorites, though, are little hole-in-the-wall places that aren't written up in the magazine food critiques. Espo's in Chandler is one of them.

FIBM:   How did you end up joining Keel? Who was in the band at that time?

David:   I got a call from Ron asking if I wanted to move to L.A. and join Keel. Kenny Chaisson and I drove out there the following week. The other guitarist was Marc Ferrari.

FIBM:  Did you play any shows with them? Write any songs? How long were you in the band?

  I played one show with Keel at Perkin's Palace in Pasedena and then joined King Kobra after Ron told all of us he might be dissolving the band because he was auditioning to be the new singer of Black Sabbath. I was with them about a month.

FIBM:   What was it like working with Ron Keel?

  I liked Ron. He was very dedicated and professional and I knew he was going to make something of himself. I didn't want to be left band-less, though, if he quit his own band, so I had to make other arrangements.

FIBM:   Describe a typical Day in the Life of David Michael-Philips during your days in Keel?

David:  Let's see: I worked at Tower Records in Westwood and we all lived in a dilapidated storefront in a pretty bad part of L.A. I heard Poison moved in there after we all moved out.
FIBM:  In retrospect do you wish you would have stayed in Keel, or do you think you made the right decision to leave?

David:  I got to be more of a creative force in King Kobra. In Keel, Ron made it clear he was writing all the songs and charting the direction.

FIBM:  What was the process leading up to you joining King Kobra? How did you meet Carmine?

David:  I answered an ad in L.A. Weekly that said Carmine was looking for a blonde guitar player. By the time he had gotten my tape, he had already found a guitarist, but he decided to add another.

FIBM:  Any cool memories come to mind or stand out from the Ready to Strike recording sessions? Where was it recorded? What was the budget?

David:   We did the record at Pasha Recording Studio in Hollywood, just following the success of Quiet Riot who had done their first record there as well with the same producer. It was a medium sized budget record for the time. It was great because I had only been in L.A. for less than 6 months and I was already signed and recording my first album.

FIBM:   Did you receive an equal share in King Kobra? What percentage did Carmine receive?

David:  Hell, no. Carmine decided he was the most important and was going to take the largest share. This caused a lot of discontent within the band and was the reason for its quick demise.

FIBM:  Although I thought Hunger was a great song.....Why did Kick Axe, of all bands, write songs for the Ready to Strike record? Couldn't you guys come up with songs on your own?

David:  The story behind the Kick Axe songs was that Spencer Proffer, the producer of Quiet Riot and King Kobra (and the publisher of all the Kick Axe songs), was trying to get them covered by Black Sabbath, who he was courting at the time for Pasha. Incidentally, this was the Keel-connection as well, because Ron sang "Hunger" as a demo with Sabbath. The Sabbath thing didn't work out, so Spencer suggested we do the song.

FIBM:  How many copies of Ready to Strike were sold?

David:  Not sure, but I've heard somewhere in the 300,000 range.

Marcie Free

FIBM:  Was it a conscious decision to make your next record, Thrill of Lifetime, such a pop oriented record. What did you think of that release?

David:  I hated it. Capitol told us we had to make a record that sounded like Jefferson Starship's "We Built This City" or we wouldn't be doing a second record. Our manager suggested we take our only option.

FIBM:  Any memories come to mind from those recording sessions?

David:   Very uninspired and a total sell-out.

FIBM:  Your thoughts on Mark Free's sex change operation? Were you surprised? Have you spoken to her recently? How is she doing?

David:   I have not spoken to Mark/Marcie in years.

FIBM:  What was Mark like back in the day? Didn't he sleep with female groupies, or did he try to avoid them? Did you notice anything different at that time?

David:   When I knew him as Mark, he seemed to be a pretty nice guy and definitely a great singer. He was never quite into the hard rock stuff, though, and I know he would have preferred the pop direction King Kobra was forced to go into on the second record.

FIBM:  How did you survive during your King Kobra days? Did you ever receive any royalties, did you make your living from touring?

David:  Before anybody thinks life in a touring band signed on a major label is the pinnacle of success, let me tell you that when we were opening for Kiss in 15,000 capacity arenas and had a record out and a video on MTV, I was making $125 a week. And it never got any better than that.

FIBM:  How was it being in a band with drumming legend Carmine Appice? What was it like working with him?

David:   Carmine is a great drummer and we have stayed in contact over the years. In fact, I just played with him recently at a benefit concert here in Phoenix.

FIBM:  Were you ever considered as a second guitarist with Mick Sweda in Bulletboys?

David:   Mick and I both started what was to become the Bulletboys, but I didn't get along with Marq Torien, so I bowed out early on.

FIBM:  Who were some of the bands that King Kobra toured with? Who were the coolest? Who were the biggest jerks?

David:   We toured with Kiss, Queensryche, Ted Nugent, Autograph and Iron Maiden. Every band was totally cool and there were no attitudes or bad vibes.

FIBM:   3 most fond memories from your days in King Kobra.

David:   First arena show in Saginaw, Michigan. Interview on MTV with J.J. Jackson. Friendship Festival in Acapulco, Mexico.

FIBM:   Any good touring stories that you would like to share?

David:   One memorable moment was sharing the stage with Kiss and singing "Lick It Up" with Gene. Biggest disappointment was not being able to play at Cobo Hall in Detroit with Ted Nugent on my 24th birthday because our equipment truck broke down.

FIBM:   What is Johnny Rod doing now?

David:   I heard he was a paramedic, but don't know for sure.

FIBM:   Now that Ready to Strike and Thrill of a Lifetime have been re-released, how have they been selling? Does Axe Killer make timely payments to you guys? Did you receive a signing bonus from Axe Killer? How does that process work?

David:   I have no idea, I don't make a penny. Better ask Carmine that question.

FIBM:   How did you get involved with Lizzy Borden and the Master of Disguise album. Any cool memories from those recording sessions?

David:   I was good friends with the producers Alex Woltman and Elliot Soloman and got to know Lizzy through them. I would consider that album some of my best playing. Lizzy is a great guy and a real pro.

FIBM:   What was it like working with Lizzy? How would you describe him? Did you tour with the band for that release.

David:   I never wanted to join the band, but I did play a Metal Blade Records show at the Palace in Hollywood.

FIBM:   After the heyday of the 80's you actually went out and got educated on us. What is it that you studied and how was it having a "real job" after touring the world in a rock band?

David:   I went back and finished college to get my degree in Engineering (Computer Science). I wanted to prove I could do it and graduated with honors in 1999.

FIBM:   Didn't you reconnect with some of the guys in Icon during the 90's? What was that project and did you record anything?

David:   We were called Tomcats and did a few development demos, but nothing ever came of it.

FIBM:   Please tell us a little bit about your new band Big Cock. Does the band tour?

David:   I guess you could say that I'll never grow up. This band is too damn fun and it appears there are a lot of people out there that agree. The band will tour if there is a call for it. We just released our debut album "Year of the Cock" (available at and have been getting great reviews. I've got tons of material and there will certainly be more to follow.

FIBM:   I actually saw on your message board that Marcie asks "I am making a new album, would you like to do a guest solo Dave?". Will you be working with her in the future?

David:   Doubtful.

FIBM:   Any chance of a King Kobra reunion?

David:   Carmine called me 2 years ago to play on an album he was doing called "Hollywood Trash". I think it was supposed to be a King Kobra reunion of sorts. He offered me $200 to come over and re-record Ready To Strike. I declined.

FIBM:   David Michael-Philips is transported back to the year 1983, is there anything you would do differently?

David:   Nothing. Every thing I did in life has led me up to today.   


FIBM:  What is your most disgusting habit?

David:  You'd have to ask my wife that one.

FIBM:  What is the most feminine thing you do?

David:  I still wear women's pants because they fit better than men's pants.

FIBM:  If there is a God, what is the first question you would ask God when you arrive?

David:  Where the heck have you been all this time?

FIBM:  Greatest Rock band of all time?

David:  AC/DC and Van Halen

FIBM:  What were you doing 40 minutes before you sat down to do this interview?

David:  Digging holes to plant Oleanders in my front yard (it's Sunday).

You may have the desire to clear your url history after going to the site, but don't forget to visit David at the
There you can purchase the cd as well as, listen to some clips from the band. Also be sure to check out David's King Kobra website. Tons of great & rare King Kobra songs, including demos and live recordings, as well as videos and other great clips.

Search Fibits for King Kobra cd's

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