Keel / Cold Sweat / Medicine Wheel guitarist
Marc Ferrari

Keel - Lay Down the Law cd

FIBM:  We'll start by asking how in the hell a rocker was the valedictorian of his high school class? Were you required to keep that a secret in the 80's?

Marc:   Actually, I was my class Salutatorian (2nd)...I had a 96.5 grade point average and won a 4-year Regent's New York State scholarship. No, I wasn't required to keep it a "secret", but those kind of credentials aren't exactly necessary in the world of Rock 'n Roll! School came very easy for me...I even graduated in January of my senior year and took off to Europe to visit my brother. I had no idea I was the salutatorian until graduation week...I might have applied myself a little harder to be No. 1 had I known!

FIBM:  How did you originally make the move to Los Angeles?

Marc:   I was in a cover band back in Boston, where I was living at the time. I moved to Boston in early 1981 to join a band there called Steel Assassin. (What a name, huh?)...we were heavily into Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and the whole New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. That band lasted about a year, recording a few demos but never amounting to anything. I eventually wound up starting an Aerosmith tribute band called Last Child...we even had one of Aerosmith's original guitarists (Ray Tabano) help with our production. Two of my band mates had come out to LA in the summer of 1983 on vacation and came back with all these wild stories of beautiful; girls, beautiful weather and an amazing club scene. I was growing sick of 6-month East Coast winters and figured if I was going to be starving, I might as well be starving in the sun with a girl by my side. 1983 was also the year of the Heavy Metal day at the US festival and the release of great indie albums from Ratt, Dokken, Great White and Motley Crue... also the Olympics were coming in 1984. It was clearly evident that L.A. was the place to be...I moved out 22 years ago yesterday (Jan 4th) band mates had moved out a few months prior.

Marc in Steel Assassin
FIBM:  How did you come in contact with Mike Varney?

Marc:  I originally "met" Mike by writing to him...he had a column in Guitar Player Magazine going back to 1980. I sent him a demo of some of my things for the first compilation he was doing. While he didn't choose me, we kept in touch and would write/call each other. BTW, the month before I moved to L.A., Mike sent me the Steeler album as a holiday present…pretty weird coincidence if you ask me. Fast forward to February 1984, I had been in L.A. about a month and ran into Mike at a store on Melrose....I recognized him from his picture in Guitar Player. By that time, the other guys in my band had run out of money and were wanting to move back to Boston. I had nothing to go back there for and decided to stick it out. Mike put me in touch with Ron and the rest as they say is history!

FIBM:  What was it like working with Mike Varney?

Marc Ferrari & Ron Keel (1984)

David Michael-Philips & Marc (1984)

Marc:   Well, I never really "worked" with Mike...he released the first Keel album of course, but I didn't have too much interaction with him in those days, it was really thru Ron. I don't recall him even coming down to the Lay Down The Law sessions, even though he lived close by...Mike was all business!!

FIBM:  How did you meet Ron Keel? Do you remember the first time you met him and what you thought?

  Well again, the introduction was thru Mike, but I clearly remember the first time I met Ron... he pulled up in this white Trans-Am with the sun roof open, looking all rocked-out ..I was sitting on the steps in front of the apartment building I was living in, We cruised down to Venice beach, where he lived at the time with his then-girfriend (whom he later married and divorced), (Dee-Dee) who looked like the stereotypical California blond bombshell. Ron was living the life even way back then. Needless to say I was impressed and wanted to experience that lifestyle as well! By the way for those of you who have the very first Van Halen album, look in the list of names in the "thank-you's"'ll see Dee Dee...that's her! How about that for trivia?

FIBM:  What was it like working with Ron Keel? Describe him as a band mate.

  Ron was a great leader..he was always clear on his goals and objectives and I think that's needed in any kind of business arrangement. In the beginning, he had a backlog of material from his Steeler days and he was always writing, so there really wasn't a "need" for contributions from the others, although I did have 1 song on the first album, "Born Ready." Ron ran rehearsals like musical boot camp, very regimented, serious, and structured. Not to say it wasn't fun, we enjoyed each other's company and all that, but it was clear that when we were rehearsing, it was with the objective in mind to tighten up the band and get it into fighting shape...we became a well-oiled musical monster in a short period of was only about 5 weeks from the time we first got together to our first show. BTW, Stryper opened up for us at our first gig, which was in front of almost 2000 people.

FIBM:  David Michael-Philips said that he left Keel because Ron had let you guys know that he was probably going to join Black Sabbath. Was there ever a time that you thought about leaving back then?

Marc:  No, however during the period right after the Perkins Palace show when Ron announced he was joining Black Sabbath (or maybe it was announced on MTV, I'm a little foggy on the exact timing of it), we all were scrambling. I even auditioned for Lita Ford and thought I nailed the audition, but her manager wanted someone who could play keyboards as well so they wouldn't have to pay 2 salaries. I was bummed of course, but everything wound up being OK.

FIBM:  What was it like working with David Michael-Philips? I thought you guys would of made a great guitar duo. Were you upset when he left?

Marc:  Bear in mind I only worked with David for about 5 weeks total, from the time the band first got together in March 1984 thru the Perkins palace show in April 1984, so it really wasn't sufficient time to get to know someone all that well either musically or personally. What I do remember is that David was a great guy, very dedicated, professional, business-like and an easy-going personality with a dry sense of humor.. I liked his playing a lot...who knows what would have happened had he stayed. I don't recall being terribly upset that he left, after all, Ron did make that announcement...I was happy that he wound up in King Kobra…we even did a show together in 1985 I think it was.
(L-R) David Michael-Philips, Kenny Chaisson, Ron Keel,
Bobby Marks, Marc Ferrari
FIBM:   Any memories of Rik Fox stand out? What did you think of him?

Marc:  By the time I met Ron, Rik was no longer in Steeler, it was Greg Chaisson who was in the last lineup. But I do remember seeing Rik at the clubs, he always stood out with that long black hair..I used to think of him as King Rik...he always seemed to have a gaggle of girls around him. He was always nice to me and we always got along...we may have even done a show with Sin, now that I think about it. Say hello to him for me!

Marc & Rik Fox

FIBM:  Any word yet on the release of Lay Down the Law. Last we heard from Ron was that it should be soon....any news?

Marc:  We've been hammering away at Mike Varney for years on this. Ron told me as recently as this past fall that Varney was re-mastering it with the intention of releasing it soon...there are several bootlegs out there, it only makes sense for him to do it. I'll have to rattle his cage!

Barn where Lay Down the Law was recorded

FIBM:  Any memories come to mind from the Lay Down the Law recording sessions? Any funny, cool, sucked, or great moments stand out? Feel free to share more than one.

Marc:  There were a lot of great memories in making the record...first of all it was our first road trip together so that in itself was an adventure...the studio was set on a working farm so there'd be these animals'd wake up and there'd be a cow outside your door. We also had this one room where we had a kitchen and all looked like something out of Animal House when we were all there. It was like being in the circus and the army at the same time. One day, we went into town to shop for food and met a few girls at the supermarket. We casually mentioned where we were recording and left it at that. The next day, I came back from recording to the little cabin I shared with Bryan...the 2 girls were in our beds....don't ask me how they knew where we were staying, they must've had some inside info, or were very resourceful. I remember doing a double-take and going back to the studio to tell Bryan about first he didn't believe me! I was going out with Bryan's sister at the time, so my "friendship" was platonic ! Let's see what else...oh yeah, we did a gig at The Stone in San Francisco when we were there...we opened for LeMans who later got signed to CBS...their guitarist was Derek Frigo, who later went onto Enuff Znuff. The place was a dump, but the memorable thing about the gig was that we all got into a huge brawl with some local jerks...I don't even remember what it was about but there were fists flying everywhere.

FIBM:  Whatever happened to Bobby Marks?

Marc:  I lost contact with Bobby many years ago, I was in touch with him for a few years after he left Keel...he was a great guy, my closest friend in the band when we started, he sued to drive me everywhere because I didn't have a car for the first few months I moved out to LA !

Rare Keel band photo with Stephen Riley on left

FIBM:  When did drummer, Steve Riley (WASP / L.A. GUNS) join the band and why did he leave?

Marc:  I'm not exactly sure on the precise date, but it would have been between June of 1984 and August...we recorded Lay Down The Law with Bobby, and Steven did The Right to Rock. Some interesting Keel trivia...Barry Brandt (ex-Angel) was the first choice but he kept missing rehearsals, so we canned him. Fred Coury (Cinderella, Arcade, London) was in for about a month and he decided it wasn't the right gig for him!

FIBM:  How was it working with Steven? Any moments stand out?

Marc:  Steven was my bro! He was from Boston, (where I had moved from) and was just the funniest guy, I really enjoyed hanging with him. We didn't have that much time with him, maybe a month or two...

FIBM:  How was it working with Gene Simmons? What were some of the things Gene brings to the table as a producer? Is there something that you felt set him apart from other producers?

Marc:  Gene was very intimidating at first...he is definitely "all business," and after all he is the god of Thunder! He was very helpful on The Right To Rock with arrangement ideas and helping to get good performances out of everyone. He wasn't over-bearing, but rather just suggestive. He would ask that you try his suggestions and if you really didn't like them, he wouldn't fight you on it, for the most part he sided with us. Of course, he kind of "force-fed" a few of his songs on us....I never cared for the Simmons songs on that record, to me, they sounded like throw-away KISS songs, but it was part of the whole "package." We didn't have a lot of leverage back then and had to accept certain things in order to keep our train rolling down the track. But overall I'd say it was a positive experience working with him. We learned from him, got to hear some great rock stories and benefited from the relationship. On the 2nd record, The Final frontier, we were quite sure of ourselves by then (it was our 3rd record), and Gene's influence wasn't as prevalent on that record. By the way, I am providing music for Gene's new show, Gene Simmons' family jewels, so the circle has definitely come around!!

Keel w/ Gene Simmons

Inner Sleeve of Pantera's final independent release, Power Metal
FIBM:  Was there a reason that Gene Simmons always made the drums on every record he produced, including Black n Blue, sound like KISS drums? Did the band want that, did you care, or did you just let him do whatever he wanted?

Marc:  I never really noticed that, but it may be due to the fact that he is set in his ways and is used to a certain sound. Also, the same engineers may have been used from project to project, too. Ron had a good ear for drum sounds (he was a drummer, too), and was there for the mixes so it's not all Gene's doing.

FIBM:  Tell us a little about your history with the band Pantera?

Marc:   Wow, where to begin....I first met the guys on a road trip we took to Texas in 1985. On Ron Keel's interview page, you mention it was at the Arcadia where we were first introduced, but I thought it was the Bronco Bowl, where we opened for Accept & Helix in the summer of 1985. I'm a little foggy on some of the venues, they all looked the same after a while. Anyway, Diamond and Vinny gave me a few of their cassettes, the first release and Projects in the Jungle. After hearing the first 30 seconds of Project in the Jungle I was convinced that I had just heard the best unsigned band in America. Of course, back then, the band was much different than what they evolved in to. For those of you who have not heard these early releases, they are reminiscent of Def Leppard meets Motley Crue meets Night Ranger meets Priest...they struck me as being so mature for their age and the writing, arrangements, playing and production values were all top-notch...better than most of the signed major label groups at the time. I immediately offered to help them in any way that I could. I initially flew down to hang out with them, it was a non-stop party any time I was with them from the moment I landed to the final seconds of walking down the jetway to get onto the plane back home. I remember house parties at their Mom's house that were totally insane...200 or so people just rockin' out till dawn, it was magic. I never had so much fun with a group of guys than with hanging out with the Pantera guys. I used to get the craziest phone messages from them, they were classic! I started making some calls to friends of mine in the press...I got Metal Edge magazine to do a story on them way back in 1985 or 1986, it was their first national magazine spot. I brought their demos into our label, Gold Mountain who eventually signed them to a production deal. At the time, Gold Mountain didn't release albums directly, but rather thru a larger label. (The Right To Rock was released on Gold Mountain/A&M, and the next two were Gold Mountain/MCA). This meant that they had to get the larger label to release the product. Unfortunately this never happened and the band was released from Gold Mountain...but it was thru my efforts that they got that first contract. I also talked them up in interviews that I did...I remember us doing some interviews together for Z Rock, who were based in Dallas at the time. In short, I did everything I could in my power to bring attention to the band and help out in any way. By the way, I'd like to go on record saying that in no way do I claim any responsibility for their much-deserved success....Pantera was destined to happen with or without me in the picture, I just happened to be the first guy in a major-label band that tried to help.

FIBM:  Do you agree that Projects in the Jungle is one of the best hard rock albums of the era / genre?

Marc:  Undeniably, emphatically and most assuredly, YES!

FIBM:  What was it like working with Vinnie and Darrell?

Marc:  Both amazingly talented, focused and truly gifted musicians. Ideas were always flowing...I seem to remember some differences of opinion between the two from time to time but that's only natural. I "produced" Proud To Be Loud, but I use that word loosely because it was really Vinny who was in the driver's seat and was responsible for the tone and pace of the sessions. I coached Phil as best as I could without making him sing the way he wouldn't have done by himself, I just basically guided him with the melodies and structure of the phrasing. I played rhythm guitar on that track, and lead guitar on "We'll Meet Again."....maybe a solo on that one, too, it's been a while since I've listened to the album.   

   FIBM:  Were you surprised when Terrence Lee left the band? Any recollections of Terry stand out?

Marc:  At first yes, because they had such a draw and they had already done 3 records with him, but that was the pivot point for them when they decided to go in a heavier direction. Terry struck me as a nice guy, he wasn't as crazy of a partier as the others.

FIBM:  What is your opinion of Phil Anselmo, during the recording of Power Metal? What was he like then?

Marc:  He was very respectful, worked hard on his vocals and really applied himself to the song, even though he didn't write it ("Proud to be Loud")...he was very powerful and gave it his all. He definitely fit in with the social aspect of the band, he knew how to hold his liquor!!

FIBM:  Any memories stand out or come to mind from the Power Metal recording sessions? Any funny, cool, sucked, or brilliant moments? Feel free to share more than one.

Marc:  Not the studio they were all business and worked diligently & efficiently...don't remember anything out of the ordinary that happened in the studio.

FIBM:   What was the Metal Magic studio like? Do you remember any of the gear at that time? Were they recording on 2 inch tape? Were the rooms nice? ETC. Anything stand out?

Marc:  I don't recall that the studio itself was anything out of the ordinary, it was very non-descript but functional given the time and the gear, which I do think was 2-inch tape now that you mention it.... they didn't have a Jacuzzi or sun roof in there like they had at Record Plant, where we did The Right to Rock!

FIBM:  Did you get to work with their father, Jerry Abbott (The Eld'n)? What was he like and what role did he play, during that time?

Marc:   Jerry would engineer a lot of the sessions along with Vinny....Vinny was quite accomplished at engineering but Jerry would be there giving opinions and making sure the sounds were going to tape correctly...I believe the studio was actually his.

Dimebag Darrell (Diamond Darrell Lance) & Marc circa 1985

(L-R)Rex Rocker, Phil Anselmo,
Vinnie Paul, Diamond Darrell

Rex, Marc, Vinnie, Darrell (1990)

FIBM:  How often would you hang out with those guys?

Marc:   As often as I could get the time off and fly down...I must have gone down to Texas a dozen times or so...I took a small roads trip with them once which I'm still recovering from and another time, I flew down with Rob Cavallo (who went on to sign Green Day + produce Alanis Morrisette)...he was working A&R for Warner Brothers and really liked the band....somewhere there is a video of all of us onstage with them jamming! Rob wanted to sign the band as far back as 1987 but could not get the rest of the A+R staff to agree to it

FIBM:  When was the last time you hung out with any of them?

Marc:  I had lunch with Rex out here in California a few months ago…he moved out here recently. Prior to that, it was at Darrell's funeral...that whole thing struck me harder than was such a tragedy...the funeral in itself was part circus, part rock n' roll show, totally Diamond .....(Kiss Koffin, light show in the funeral home, party atmosphere, etc) Seeing him lying in state like that knowing how full of life, love, energy and passion that guy was really hit me to my core.

FIBM:  Were you surprised at what they eventually evolved into? Not necessarily based on their success, but more on the overall sound?

Marc:   A bit, yes, but they were obviously following their heart and they just developed...I mean look at the Beatles...they started out as a bubblegum pop band and evolved into something much was a similar career arc with Pantera, they just changed with the times. There was nothing false or pretentious about them, they weren't following trends, they were following gut instincts.

FIBM:  Any great stories that you would like to share from your days hanging out with Pantera. Feel free to share more than one.

Marc:  I touched on some of them with the parties, etc....they also used to come see Keel anytime we were within a few hundred miles of Dallas, but I do remember that I almost got arrested taking a leak behind a dumpster after a night of partying with was the closest I got to going to jail...the cop was ready to haul me in after catching me "in the act", but they talked him out of it! Also remember the Texxas Jam, 1986 when we opened up for Van Halen...I tried to get them all backstage passes but wasn't able to, but I told them that they would be playing the Cotton Bowl soon enough.....
FIBM:  Any memories come to mind from the Final Frontier recording sessions? Any funny, cool, sucked, or great moments stand out? Feel free to share more than one.

Marc:  The Final Frontier sessions were split between L.A. and L.A. we recorded at Baby O studios....there was an assistant there who used to sleep on the couch...this guy fast forwards a few years and becomes Stevie Salas, who toured with Rod Stewart and went on to much acclaim with the Stevie Salas Colorcode and other projects such as Nicklebag with the Rolling Stones' Bernard Fowler. about Eddie Van Halen stopping by while I was recording guitar tracks???.... no better way to take the wind out of your sails than that...I couldn't play in front of him! Joan Jett was a guest as was Gregg Guiffria...we had a great time making the record. In N.Y. City, we recorded at Electric Ladyland where of course Hendrix (and so many other classic artists) worked their magic...I felt inspired to be there and felt some of my best playing happened in that room. I remember laying down all the different layers of the classical piece "Nightfall"..We used to hang out in the Village....Mitch Perry and Fiona (Flannigan, not Apple) were frequent guests. My cousin Jennifer Connelly (we're actually first cousins ) also stopped by.

FIBM:  Is there a record that you feel sums up what Keel was about? One you are more proud of? If so, why?

Marc:  I guess I'd go with The Final Frontier because it's the one which had the most diversity, the one we had the most artistic control with (of the 3 major label releases), and the album we toured the longest for. That album seemed to come together very cohesively for us and we were at our creative apex. All the pieces seemed to fall into place with that record and we were firing on all six...You had some great rockers, some great ballads, some great AOR tracks and a bitchin' guitar instrumental all on the same release!

FIBM:  Any memories come to mind from the Keel / Self-titled recording sessions?

Marc:  I was very thrilled to work with Michael Wagener, he was a great joy to be around, very positive, laughing, joking, always in a good mood...I knew we would have a great-sounding record as well. I was a fan of so much of his work ..he used to call me "Porsche" instead of "Ferrari" because he was German! We did have this huge party where we invited like over 100 people into the studio to sing on "United Nations." Also, Al Kooper (who discovered/produced Lynyrd Skynyrd and worked with Dylan) was recording there, too. I used to go poke my head in his sessions and bug him for stories…he was a great guy.

FIBM:  Who were some of the bands that you toured with for that release?

Marc:  Well Bon Jovi was the big one, we did 13 shows with him on the Slippery When Wet tour, playing the largest venues of our career including 3 nights at Madison Square Garden. Now that I think about it, I think that was the only major tour we did that year, after those dates, we did some club dates and then were pulled off the road...we didn't even go to Japan or Europe that year, like we had done for the The Final Frontier. It was so disappointing after coming off those huge Bon Jovi shows...that was the beginning of the end for me.


FIBM:  3 most fond memories of your days in Keel.

Marc:  Obviously the Bon Jovi dates, The Texxas Jam (or maybe opening up for Aerosmith) and headlining Japan...pretty much the same things Ron said in his interview!

FIBM:  Out of all the bands you have toured with which one were the best and which ones were the biggest jerks?

Marc:   I can't recall that we had issues with any of the bands we toured with, although there was some tension with Krokus... it probably wasn't the band themselves but some of their crew, it just seemed like they gave us a hard time with things. I used to hang out with Marc Storace and Fernando Von Arb (I even did a Party Ninjas date with Fernando in 1988 I think)... chalk it up to roadie ego....

FIBM:  Why did you decide to leave Keel? Was it a hard decision to make at the time, or was it quite easy? Was there any tension in the band at that time, or was it based on record sales, or control issues? Please lay it down?

Marc:   By 1988, there were a lot of disappointments between the failure of the previous album and pressure on us to become more commercial. Goldmountain was in the process of switching distribution from MCA to Atlantic, and Jason Flom (who is now running Virgin but spent the past decade running Lava) was our new A&R guy. Ron differed with him right off the bat and there was tension. Not that A&R guys are always right about things, but I thought we could be a bit diplomatic and not piss the people off that have some control over our musical and financial destiny. Ron brought in a keyboard player, Scott Wolf, so right there was a huge change for really changed the dynamic of the band. I'm not sure if it was entirely Ron's decision or one that was forced on him, but Ron had always been a headstrong guy so I think the decision was at least partially his. I thought we should go in a heavier direction, or at least stay the course with us being a guitar-based band. The material that was being presented by Ron was decidedly poppier in nature and I just disagreed with the whole concept of us going down that path. My relationship with Ron dissolved to the point where it was evident that I would be disruptive to the band by continuing on so I decided to step aside. I was fully confident in myself that I would land up on my feet and eventually I did. I don't recall any screaming matches, drawn blood or fisticuffs, it was pretty civil...I respected all the guys too much to have had it gone down any differently than that.

FIBM:  Did the band ever record / release anything with Oni Logan? If so, will those recordings ever see the light of day?you?

Marc: forward about 3 months after leaving Keel, I got turned onto this cool singer from Florida named Oni Logan. Oni was doing drywall when I first called him...he sent me a demo and the talent exploded off the tape, he was clearly something special. I flew him out to LA on my dime and we initially did a 3-song demo…Fred Coury from Cinderella played drums...Michael Sweet from Stryper helped out on some backing vocals..he was recording in the same studio. That initial demo convinced Goldmountain to exercise their "leaving member" clause in my recording contract which meant that they intended to keep me under contract. I put the rest of the band together that summer and played gigs around L.A... at first the band was called "Ferrari."

<-Ferrari - Cold Sweat->

FIBM:  I remember listening to the station Z-Rock and they introduce your new band, at that time, called Ferrari. They played a couple of songs, several times a day and I remember really thinking that you were going to finally break through and become a multi-platinum artist. There seemed to be a lot of promotion behind it, in the beginning, and people seemed to be digging it. Then all of a sudden, I don't remember hearing anything more about the band. Did the record company stop promoting, Why did it fall apart...etc., etc.... Get it off your chest, one last time.

Marc:  Z Rock initially was playing the demo I just mentioned as well as a subsequent demo we did with Ronnie James Dio, which was the one which eventually convinced MCA to sign us....we had not become "Cold Sweat" yet, so there wasn't a major label release to do any promotion for at this time...I don't know what you're referring to here, but this is the timeline. I eventually was released from Goldmountain (Wendy Dio was our manager) and after a line-up change or two, some strong live dates and the afore-mentioned final demo, we got a commitment from MCA. On the day we were to start recording our record (the contracts were in the process of being signed) Oni left the band to join Lynch Mob.

FIBM:  What happened? Please tell us the reason behind Oni's departure...what was actually said b/t George Lynch and Oni and what did you think about it at that time?

Marc:  Lynch had been courting Oni for a while, how long, I couldn't say, but he did show up at a few of our gigs. The infamous gig at the Whiskey where supposedly George asked Oni if he'd rather be driving a Ferrari or playing in a band called Ferrari was the last straw. I never heard those words but I wasn't exactly trying to hear everything the great George was drunkenly espousing. I heard that George gave him 50k as an incentive. George was already signed and had a much higher profile than me so Oni took the bait. It was a shitty thing to do, both on George's side and Oni's and the timing couldn't have been worse...Oni's actions affected not just me but the 3 other guys in the band as well. Our whole professional lives were suddenly in limbo. It took nearly half a year and hundreds of auditions to find Rory Cathey who became the singer of what was eventually known as Cold Sweat.

FIBM:  Have you seen George Lynch since then, or in recent years? If so, did you guys ever exchange words...what was said?

Marc:  Look, in retrospect, George did me a favor, although it wasn't apparent at the time. Oni, although amazingly gifted as a vocalist, had personal issues and character traits which made him (I'm being polite) "difficult to work with." It's been well-documented some of the problems Oni had with Lynch Mob and I am convinced those problems would have surfaced in Cold Sweat. I have run into George since then, but our last "meeting" must have been nearly 10 years ago at a NAMM show and was rather brief. We had a quick laugh about it... I respect George as a player and as a survivor.

FIBM:  Apparently there was a lot of tension, while recording the debut record, between you and producer Kevin Beamish. What was that about and what did you think of him as a producer?

Marc:  Let me answer the 2nd question first, as it was my idea to work with Kevin...Keel did a single with Kevin in 1987 called "Rock 'n Roll Outlaw (a Rose Tattoo cover), that was for the "Dudes" movie soundtrack which Penelope Spheeris directed (this will segue into your Wayne's World question later). I loved Kevin's work on Y&T and to a lesser degree the REO Speedwagon material. Bear in mind that we "auditioned" and got commitments from such luminary producers as Andy Johns and Eddie Kramer as well....but I truly admired and respected Kevin as a producer and felt he would be a great choice to guide the band in the studio.

Cold Sweat, although founded (and funded) by yours truly was comprised of 4 other very headstrong, opinionated and cock-sure individuals, none of which had ever been signed to a record deal or had done a full-fledged record before. Where the tension happened was not so much between me & Kevin, (although there was definitely some), but between me and some of the other guys in the band. I wanted the record to be stripped-down, raw, gritty, edgy and in your-face, while some of the others wanted it to be more layered, produced, polished. I firmly believe that some of the demos we did were superior to the final record...if you heard any of them I think you'd agree with me. The demos rocked hard. THAT was where I waged most of my battles, trying to steer the production to what I thought was the truer essence of the band. Although I'm extremely proud of that record, I feel it was the wrong approach production-wise and I think Kevin went along with the will of the masses. Nuff said, we're all good now...but I still cringe listening to "Take This Heart Of Mine" or "Let's Make Love Tonight"....they're so watered down compared to the demos.

FIBM:  You toured with Love/Hate. What were they like during that time? Any good stories to share?

Marc:  I dug Johnny and Jizzy a lot...they were all nice to us, we hung out and caused as much damage as we could. I wasn't familiar with their band prior to us touring, but enjoyed watching them a lot...they were one of the big "buzz bands" of their day. I remember that the bass player had this bad Corvette..I was driving a shitty Chevy Chevelle Malibu at the time....interesting how certain memories stick with you.

FIBM:  Tell us about how you ended up being in Wayne's World (Parts 1 & 2)?

Marc:  As mentioned previously, Keel worked with Penelope Spheeris on the Dudes soundtrack..we also did a video for the film which Penelope directed. I used to see her at the clubs and alwys stayed in touch with her. When I read that she was going to direct Wayne's World, I gave her a call and she kept me in mind for the film. Wayne's World 2 came about because everyone was asked back...quadruple the salary for me!

FIBM:  What was that experience like for you? Any stand out moments?

Marc:  Amazing memories, so many of them, just being around so much comedic talent like Mike Meyers, Dana Carvey, Chris Farley, I got to look at Tia Carrere's butt for all that time...she is a great person, very down-to-earth, hard-working, pleasant to be around. We jammed with Dana at the crew party, that was pretty to talk hockey with Mike Myers a few times...showed Christopher Walken how to play guitar. On Wayne's World 2, Peter Frampton was originally in the script....he was part of "Waynestock"…we hung out for a whole afternoon...and of course being with the Aerosmith guys too, that was a frickin' cool…we got treated like movie stars (instead of rock stars?)...

FIBM:  Tell us a bit about Rock Star 101? What made you think of writing the book, or had you planned to write one all along?

Marc:  I wanted to share the knowledge I had learned from all my years of being a musician and having to learn the hard way about things related to the business side of music. Too many young musicians are all to eager to put their name on a contract without fully knowing what lurks within those pages. Also, in the very beginning, before attorneys may traditionally be involved there is a lot of business which has to be sorted out within the structure of the band. Armed with knowing what some of these issues are and how to deal with them I consider to be one of the most important things a musician can do. It sucks that there's more business than music in the music business, but that's the reality of it. I set myself a goal to write the manuscript, which took me the better part of a summer to do. Getting the deal for it actually took me longer than getting my first record deal! It's kind of the same process: "shopping" the manuscript around and seeing what company may have an interest in releasing it. I got a ton of e-mails and letters from musicians who said the book was very helpful to them.

FIBM:  Is there one piece of great industry advice, from the book, that you would be kind enough to share with our readers?

Marc:  Never eat anything made with mayonnaise any time, any place or any where if you can avoid it. That and make sure a music attorney goes thru anything you put your name on...

FIBM:  Tell us a little about your company, MasterSource. What do you do? What are some of the shows your songs have been featured on?

Marc:  I started MasterSource nearly 15 years ago...I place music into films, TV shows, commercials, video games, movie trailers, network promos, corporate presentations, you name it. I have even had music included in videos for Rage Against The Machine, The Isley Brothers and Brooks & Dunn! As far as a credit list goes, there are to check out the website at for a recent list, but we do have music in several films in theaters right now such as Brokeback Mountain, Syrianna, Rumor Has It, Cheaper By The Dozen 2 and Transamerica.

FIBM:  How does a musician go about submitting material to you? Is there a particular type of music that you look for?

Marc:  When I am in the process of producing CDs, I do take submissions if I am looking for a certain style of music. Right now, I'm in between projects so I don't have a need for submissions. I produce mostly contemporary genres (with vocals) such as Rock, Metal, Alternative, Power-Pop, Country, Dance, Latin, Blues, Singer-Songwriter. I have a core group of writers that have been working with me since I started but every year I do hire some fresh blood. On my most recent collection, I have some songs co-written by Mark Slaughter, Paul Taylor (Winger) and Kip Winger. In the past some of my old rock buddies such as Robin McAuley, Steve Plunkett, Tommy Thayer and even Ron Keel have written songs for my library.

FIBM:  Any chance of a Keel reunion soon? If so, when? If not, why?

Marc:  Ron & I have been in touch with various promoters and are exploring the possibilty of either selective one-off dates or a small "tour." There is a lot on which something like this depends: The financial feasibilty, the schedule to accomodate those with families or business to run (all of us have children of various ages) and the physical mechanics of it all. I personally wuld be open to do some dates. Bear in mind it's been over 18 years since the 5 original guys have shared the same stage....

FIBM:  Marc Ferrari is transported back to the mid-80's. Is there anything you would do differently?

Marc:  Not a thing..I can honestly say that I have stood by every decision I've made and take full responsibility for decisions that may have adversely affected myself or others....for better or worse they have helped forge the entity of my life.


FIBM:  What is your most disgusting habit?

Marc:  Putting ketchup on almost everything: Eggs, veggies, crackers, etc.

FIBM:  What is the most feminine thing you do?

Marc:  I don't do this regularly, but a few times when I was too drunk to piss standing up without missing and making a mess that I pissed sitting down...

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

Marc:   Why so many people seem to think they know you and kill in your name. Second question would be why do you let idiots have guns.

FIBM:  Greatest Rock band of all time?

Marc:  This is a tough one...I've been influenced by so many great bands it's hard to pick just one, but let's start with:
1) Led Lizzy
2) AC / ZZ
3) Motley Who
4) Judas Purple
5) AeroStarz
6) Lynyrd Leppard
7) Van Sabbath
throw in a few solo guys like Robin Travers, Jimi Winter and Stevie Ray Montrose....

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

Marc:  Setting the timer to go off in precisely 40 minutes so I could jump right into answering all your questions!

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