- - Monday, April 25, 2016

Tom Keifer is best known as the lead singer and guitarist of the multiplatinum band Cinderella, which sold over 15 million albums and scored hits with “Don’t Know What You Got (Until It’s Gone),” “Nobody’s Fool,” “Somebody Save Me” and “Coming Home,” surviving labels and labeling to become a force in bluesy rock ‘n’ roll.

Mr. Keifer‘s 2013 solo CD “The Way Life Goes” captured the ears of fans both old and new as well as a slew of musical critics. Mr. Keifer, who continues to tour with his own band, will play the M3 Rock Festival alongside Quiet Riot, Tesla and Slaughter this weekend at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland.

Mr. Keifer discussed the decadelong process to make “The Way Life Goes,” what to expect at the M3 Rock Festival and the possibility of a Cinderella reunion.

Question: What’s the secret to keeping your voice after all these years?

Answer: I had a whole lot of voice problems. At one point I was told I would never sing again; I had a paralyzed vocal chord. The neurological problem is something that never gets cured. But you can learn, if you’re lucky enough, to work around it.

The best coach, who I’ve been working with for almost seven years, is Ron Anderson. He had me coming from no career and no voice back to having a career and voice.

Q: Were you surprised at how well “The Way Life Goes” has been received?

A: I was happy with it. [laughs] We spent a long time making it. Obviously the reaction is what you hope for. I ‘ve never tried to chase a trend or do something just for the sake of fortune and fame. I wanna make the kind of music that I love. This record was no different in that. We produced it without a label involved. There are positives and negatives to that. That’s why it took 10 years, because no one was breathing over our shoulder.

At the end of the day, you think after spending 10 years you’re gonna be pretty happy with the record when you’re finished with it. And we were. To hear other people like it is a pretty good feeling after spending that much time.

Q: Were there any moments in those 10 years you thought you wouldn’t finish it?

A: Well, it started off as not even being an album. I was coming out of a very bad record deal that Cinderella had, ended up in court. I had a really bad taste in my mouth about the music industry. My wife Savannah [Snow] went through a similar thing. She’s a songwriter and an artist who was signed to some big companies in Nashville and felt the sting of the music business, shall we say. We were kind of in the same place in life.

The record started off as just “let’s make some music.” With no lawyers involved. No record companies involved. We have a studio. We started writing with friends of ours, brought in musicians that we liked. We brought a friend of ours in to co-produce not knowing we were producing a record yet. We were just sort of all working together.

A few years into it we thought, “Wow! This could maybe be a record.” Then it finally got to the point where we knew the soup was done, and this sounded like an album.

Q: Are you working on a deluxe edition of the album?

A: We decided this year would not be a good year to come off the road because the touring is building with this live band. People are loving this band. So while we are on the road this year, there is not enough time to make a new record, so we are doing a deluxe edition of “The Way Life Goes.” The two new tracks that we are adding are a direct result of this record. They don’t make sense on a new record; they make sense as part of this.

Q: After that will we have to wait 10 years for a new album?

A: God, I hope not. [laughs]

The writing process has started. There is some cool stuff developing. We’re hoping to get into the studio next year and record a whole full album.

Q: At M3 Rock Festival, do you hang around with other bands?

A: Sometimes we hang out. It depends on the schedule. It’s always good to see everyone from the ‘80s. We see each other all the time at these summer festivals. Everyone kind of watches each other perform. We stand on the side of the stage and watch.

I love Faster Pussycat. I think they are one of the cool rock bands of the era. So I will check them out. Everyone from that time gets along good.

Q: Will Cinderella ever tour or make a record again?

A: I take things one day at a time. I’ll say this about Cinderella: We’ve all been tied up with our own projects. I’m enjoying what I’m doing now. I try not to predict the future.

Q: When you play live, what happens if you don’t play “Don’t Know What You Got”?

A: People wouldn’t be happy. [laugh] I wouldn’t be happy. I love playing that. I hear artists say, “Oh, I’m so sick of playing that song.” I never get tired of walking on that stage and sharing those songs with the very people I shared them with 30 years ago and who changed my life. It’s never like, “Oh, I gotta play ‘Nobody’s Fool’ again.” I wanna play “Nobody’s Fool” again.” They wanna hear it. They wanna sing it back.

You want to have that exchange. And the exchange is every bit as cool as it was 30 years ago. Some bands do the “No Hits” tour. I wouldn’t want to go see a band that wasn’t gonna play any of their hits.

Tom Keifer plays the M3 Rock Festival at Merriweather Pavilion this weekend. Tickets are $60 by going to Ticketfly.com.


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