Musicians Hotline is pleased to continue with its "Where
Are They Now?" series. This month's feature artist is Eddie
Ojeda of Twisted Sister. So get out your parachute pants and bandanas
and let's visit the 80's with Eddie.
MH: Tell us what Eddie Ojeda is up to these days.
EO: At the moment I am working with the drummer from
Skid Row, Robert Affuso. It's a project that we call Skid Sister
where we go out and do half Twisted Sister songs and half Skid Row
songs. I'm also playing with a band called Visione and we do a lot
of private parties, corporate gigs, and things like that. It's an
excellent band and I keep quite busy with that. I'm also working
on some originals for a possible solo project. I'm also doing some
producing working with a girl group, which my daughter is also in,
trying to make things happen with that.
MH: When did you first start playing guitar and can you recall
your first decent guitar?
EO: I first started playing when I was about 14 years
old, with a really cheap Kent guitar. My first real guitar was a
Gibson Stereo and ESP 45, which I had for a real long time. I ended
up selling it, which I really feel bad that I did because it's worth
a lot of money now. That was my first real guitar.
MH: Who were your musical influences early on and what guitar
players impacted your playing style?
EO: My musical influences I would have to say, the
first band that actually kind of rocked my socks off were the Beatles
of course. My musical influences as far as guitar players were definitely
Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck. Once I heard the Cream
and Who and Hendrix, that's all I listened to for years and years.
They are still like my favorites though as far as guitar players
go. So I would definitely have to say Hendrix first, Clapton second
and Jeff Beck third.
MH: Give us an overview and a time frame of how you hooked
up with Twisted Sister.
EO: Basically I went to high school with JJ, the other
guitar player in Twisted Sister. We were high school friends, we
used to hook up after school together and jam and play and other
tales of debauchery. But anyway, I basically stayed friends with
him and he had formed a version of the band before I was involved
and had some minor success in the Tri State area. Then they broke
up and we got this version of the band together. That was around
1976, we had Gia in the band and things started to click, we started
doing originals and the rest is history. We just did the whole club
circuit for years and developed a whole big name in the Tri State
area. We used to pack all the bars. From there we went to the next
level which was to get a record deal. Which was no easy task, but
yes, I would say we started around 1976.
MH: What gear were you using in the Twisted Sister era?
EO: Basically I used all Marshall amps with a different
array of stomp boxes, like your digital delay and distortion boxes
like that. I think I had a Boss overdrive at the time with a Marshall
head, a couple of Marshall heads, Marshall 50's and then we went
on to the 100's. So as far as amplifiers I would have to say that
we mostly used Marshalls live. In the studio we also used Mesa Boogies
as well, along with the Marshall amps. As far as guitars went, I
had several different guitars in the early days. I had a couple
of Ibanez guitars, and then when BC Rich guitars came out I started
playing those for quite awhile. I had a Mockingbird that I really
liked and played for a while, I also had a BC Rich "Bitch"
that was custom made for me and I was using that as well. Shortly
after that, Charvel Guitars emerged on the scene with the Custom
Strat type guitars. I ordered my first guitar, which was of course
the Bullseye guitar, that has become synonymous with Twisted Sister,
and that I used in oh so many videos and played throughout the world
with. Once I got that, I was just using it all the time, it just
felt like a god in my hand, it was just one of those things, just
the way it looked, it was just so cool looking. So many people made
so many comments and it just really fit the band very well. Shortly
after that, after I had that guitar for about a year, they made
me the Twisted Sister logo guitar. Throughout the whole Twisted
Sister era I basically used those two guitars, I just went back
and forth between the two of them. I had two other guitars on the
road with me but I didn't really use them much, it was basically
the two Charvels. The Bullseye guitar has a Duncan Custom pickup
in it, with a pre-amp boost but I didn't really use it much as far
as the pre-amp boost went. The Twisted Sister logo guitar had an
EMG pickup in it. So they sounded different but they both had a
really great sound to them so that's why I used those two guitars
exclusively. I was also very happy to find out that Wayne was making
guitars again. Basically I called him up to make another Bullseye
guitar for me. That's when the whole idea came up to do a limited
edition Eddie Ojeda Bullseye guitar. I'm really happy to be working
with Michael and Wayne Charvel on this project. I think it's going
to turn out really well.
MH: Twisted Sister hit the MTV power pop glam scene in the
mid to late 80's and was catapulted to the top by videos. Tell us
about those days and the experience you obtained.
EO: Well, at the time that our videos were all over
MTV, I lived in a part of Queens that my building unfortunately
didn't have cable. I kept hearing about it from everybody that lived
in the suburbs who had cable TV, how much the video was on but I
couldn't enjoy it like everybody did, I had to hear about it second
hand. That was kind of a drag, but hearing about how much it was
being played was quite cool. A bit of trivia about how we came across
the MTV thing. They used to play part of one of our video
clips called "You Can't Stop Rock N Roll" a video we did
in England for the second album. They started playing just a little
clip of that during their MTV commercial when they would show the
big M with the little TV logo, and they got a lot of calls in like
"Whose this band?" and people wanted to see more of us.
That is kind of how we got introduced to MTV and exploded on that
scene. Then when we came out with the "We're Not Going To Take
It" video it just took off, and the rest is history. It really
catapulted our career. So yes I guess it is true, a video can make
or break a band!
MH: When Twisted Sister finally disbanded, how did you stay
involved with the business?
EO: Well, basically it took me a good seven months
or so to kind of get over it and move on. I got approached by a
singer in Long Island and we formed a band called Scarecrow, I spent
a good amount of time, about a good year, trying to make that happen.
I felt the band was excellent and we had a lot of potential but
we just couldn't get it off the ground. He eventually got a small
deal, an album but I don't think it went too far. I always try and
stayinvolved in live shows as much as possible, I really enjoy doing
that. At the moment I'm doing quite well with Visione and Skid Sisterand
I'm also doing some tribute shows from time to time.
MH: Is there any plans for a Twisted Sister Reunion?
EO: The only show we've done so far is a benefit
show we did for September 11th in November of 2001 at the Hammerstein
Ballroom in New York City. We broke the attendance record at the
Hammerstein Ballroom for that gig. We did get some offers to do
some shows, some festivals in Europe, but for some reason our schedules
are so crazy that we're just not able to be free at the same time
in order to do these shows. Will there be a reunion? I don't say,
I never say never, but I just don't know if it will happen or not.
If it does I don't know if it will be on a long-term basis. But
I would certainly like to see something happen.
MH: Nuff about the past. Tell us about your new band and
what kind of material are you working on.
EO: Right now I'm working with Robert Affuso, the
drummer from Skid Row, the original drummer, Chris McCarvel and
Gene Michael which are two Connecticut home grown boys. Chris plays
bass, and Gene is a singer/guitar player and we're basically working
on straight ahead, balls to the wall, kick ass Rock N Roll, baby!
It's all original stuff and we're doing one current song, we're
doing a version of Eleanor Rigby which I sent to Paul McCartney,
I don't know if he got horrified by it or not, but we'll see what
happens with that. Just working doing some producing just trying
to get it all happening!
MH: Tell us about the gear you're currently using. Your back
line of amps and effects.
EO: At the moment I'm using two heads at the same
time, I like that stereo effect, sort of. It's really like a stereo
mono thing. I use a Marshall 100 watt head and a VHT 50 watt Pitbull
so it's a pretty nasty combo. For effects I'm basically using a
Line 6 for my effects, a Line 6 Pod, which is pretty simple and
easy to use and I get all the effects I need from it, which makes
it easy to set up and I don't have the hassle of setting up all
kinds of pedals. As far as guitars go, the guitar I'm playing lately
is the new Wayne guitar that Wayne
Charvel just made for me which is the Eddie Ojeda Bullseye guitar.
I also have some backup guitars that I use, which are a couple of
Custom Strats, a Paul Reed Smith and a Parker.
MH: Tell us a bit more of how your "Wayne"
Signature Guitar transpired.
EO: I had someone tell me that they had a web site
up and that Wayne was making guitars again. So I figured who else
could make me a perfect Bullseye guitar just like the original more
then he. I called him up basically just to commission another Bullseye
guitar. We just started talking and I got a call back from Michael
that same day and he was really excited that I had called. Basically
came up with this idea to do an Eddie Ojeda Signature model and
he told me he was doing something with Warren D Martini and Oz Fox
as well from our particular era. So I was thrilled to hear that
and we definitely worked it out and I'm really excited and looking
forward to this.
MH: Do you consider yourself a guitar collector? If so tell
us about some of your cool pieces.
EO: I really can't say I'm a guitar collector because
I don't have any vintage guitars per say. I do own a Fender Relic
which does have that old vintage sound to it, but it's not an old
guitar so it really doesn't count. The only guitar that I had that
I kick myself in the ass for selling is my old Gibson ESP 45, which
is Gibson Stereo ESP 45 and I bought it as a kid and it was you
know a late 60's guitar. It's worth a lot of money nowadays, and
I sold it for, well I don't want to tell you what I sold it for
because I get very mad at myself when I think about it. We've all
been there and made those mistakes. So I guess I don't consider
myself a true guitar collector because I don't really have any old
vintage instruments to really speak about. Most of my stuff is custom
and fairly new or from the 80's.
MH: What is the most important attribute you feel has helped
you develop as a guitar player over the years?
EO: Basically I try to stay kind of current. I listen
to a lot of music and the fact that a primitive band that does a
lot of different material, I think it keeps you very well rounded
as a musician and very current. Writing new songs and songs that
are current, I think that definitely helps any player keep his chops
up and I know it's helped me tremendously. That's one reason why
I like to keep playing live and performing because there is definitely
a certain edge that you keep by performing live in front of an audience
that people tend to lose when they stop doing that. I feel if you
are constantly in the studio and that's all you do, it's definitely
going to be hard when you get back out there to try and perform
live again, that's why I try to do both as much as possible.
MH: What's ahead for Eddie Ojeda?
EO: Basically I'm going to continue to work on a solo
project. I'm also going to try to get into producing as well; it's
something I really enjoy. I like to stay as busy as possible playing
live gigs, which is something I will probably always do. In the
future, who knows there may be a Twisted Sister Reunion, like I
said, I never say never. There is a very good possibility that there
will be something happening with Twisted Sister in the future, whether
it's a full blown out tour, or just a couple of special appearances
at festivals, only time will tell! We'll see what happens with that.
In the meantime I will stay as busy as I can pursuing as many musical
projects as possible. Because as you know music is my first love!
Sorry for the bad Steve Martin impersonation there but ya know just
trying to lighten things up a little bit.
Anyway Trent, I would like to thank you for this opportunity. Eddie