INTERVJU: Johnny Kelly från Type O Negative

Redaktören fick en kort stund med Johnny Kelly från Type O Negative som numera är batterist i Quiet Riot. Det skulle blivit ett längre samtal, men Zoom strulade tyvärr. Dock kommer en lång intervju med både Johnny och Kenny Hickey på Behind The Vinyl inom en snar framtid. I mitt korta samtal med Johnny blev det snack om just Quiet Riot och saknaden av hans gamla Brooklynband Type O Negative:

Even at our worst point we were still doing stuff that was pretty cool. It was great to be a part of it. That was ours.

What´s it like playing with Quiet Riot? It´s quite different from the stuff you did with Type O Negative.

Yeah, it is. It started out innocently enough. I played with Alex Grossi and Hookers N´ Blow for a few years. I knew that Frankie (Banali) was sick and when he got diagnosed I knew about that. I saw that they had a show coming up in Dallas and live nearby. Talking to Alex I said “Frankie´s really playing?”, because he had already started treatments and stuff and he said “Yeah!” I thought “Wow, that´s commitment.” And I said “I´m gonna be at the show anyway. Does Frankie want me to help him out? Like, set up his kit? I know he´s not gonna be 100%.” and Alexi said it was a cool idea and he´d ask him. Frankie was into it and I said “I´ll pick you guys up at the airport. Whatever I can do.” We were really just small talking and I never expected anything to come out of it, because I couldn´t ever imagine Quiet Riot performing without Frankie. I said “If you want me to fill in for Frankie or whatever, just let me know!” I knew Frankie and we were friends and he was always great to me. Hero when I was growing up and when I first stated playing I played “Bang your head” with the first band I was in. I really never expected anything to come of it. Two days before that Dallas show, they called me up and asked if I could do the show. “Frankie´s not gonna be there. Can you do the show? And I was like “Seriously? Yeah, sure. Send me the setlist and I´ll try to get through it.” I had met Chuck Wright and James Durbin, who were in he band at the time, I had met them before a couple of times. Well, I got to the show in Dallas and I walk into the trailer and I say “Guys, this is a terrible idea!” (laughs) “I don´t know what I was thinking when I said I would do this. This is no good.” At that point Chuck and James just turned white going hat do you mean?” and I said “It´s a lot. I don´t know if I´m gonna know everything. You gave me two days.” (laughs) Anyway, we got through the show and amazingly there weren´t any major trainwrecks. We got through it. I figured that would be it, but then it was like “Are you available this and that?” I said “Whatever you need.” Then there were some shows I didn´t do and Frankie played. Then they had Mike Dupke, who played with WASP and he did a couple of shows. When the time came and it was getting towards the end for Frankie he told Alex to as me if I would do it and that´s it. I´m in Quiet Riot and we´ve been playing a lot. It´s just great and it´s a lot of fun.

I remember interviewing Frankie about his whole career and he sent me a photo of the first dollar he ever made as a musician and he had it framed on his wall. Do you remember the first gig you ever got paid for.

Yes. I was 19 years old and sometime during the summer because it was outside. I played for Gary US Bonds. My uncle played guitar in Gary´s band for years. He had two shows in one day. One in Boston and one in Long Island and my uncle asked me t do it. At that point I was 19 and I was playing like speed metal. (laughs) he got me to do these shows, he got me in the band and I worked with my uncle, the bass player, and we did some rehearsals and we went. It was the first time I ever flew on a plane and we played at some college. Then we flew back o New York, went out to Log Island, played the show and then I went home. I got $250. Bac then, for me, that was like huge money. (laughs) It was fun and obviously it was quite different. After that I went on to play in a band with my uncle for years. I learned a lot about playing. We used to o a recording at Josh´s (Silver) house and Josh used to have my uncle come to his house and do sessions. We all came from the same neighborhood and everybody knew everyone. That was my first paying gig.

When Peter passed away, was it instantly for you and the band that there was no way you were going to continue?

It never entered our minds. We never discussed it.

It´s been 15 years since the last Type O Negative album, “Dead again” What do you specifically miss about not having Peter around these days?

Having my friend around. Up till that point Type O Negative was most of my adult life. I joined the band when I was 24 or 25. Everything I was experiencing through life was with the band. There´s the creative part, like Type O Negative´s music, I miss it a lot. I´ve been fortunate enough to be doing a lot of stuff since. I´ve been busy, but it´s not the same. The music really was unique and special and we didn´t take ourselves seriously, but I was very proud to be a part of what we were doing. I always felt that… like when I heard the first demo I was like, “This band is special!” and even at our worst point we were still doing stuff that was pretty cool. It was great to be a part of it. That was ours.

Text: Niclas Müller-Hansen