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Mariah / Jimmy DiLella Interview

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Mariah Interview from Strutter Magazine (Netherlands)



Q. Your band was formed under the name of PRETTY BOY, can you tell me about the beginning?

A. The actual origins of the band as Pretty Boy pre-date my arrival by quite some time. I think Tim Compton

would be a better resource for the very beginning. He was there !


Q. Why did you change your band name?

A. We changed the name because our new manager at the time thought it was time to do so and we all agreed.

The band had its origins as a working cover band and was evolving to an all original writing / recording /

touring band with a shot at the big time so it just naturally seemed the right time to move on and put a little

distance from what we were and where we were going industry wise.


Q. Some of the MARIAH members played in other bands, can you tell me about them?

A. Once again I think Tim Compton would be a better resource as to the origins of each member. I was a

transplant from the East Coast and put into the band by Jon Bon Jovi. I was new to the mid-west so I missed

the whole movement out there and who was part of what and where and all of that. All I knew was Prince was from Minneapolis. That was it!


Q. One of the tracks, 'Jaime', was co-written with JON BON JOVI and RICHIE SAMBORA. How did

you get them involved?

A. Referencing answer # 3, Jon, Ritchie and I arrived at the same time. Jon became aware of “Pretty Boy”

through a friend of the band who managed to drop a tape into his bag at a back stage meet and greet.

Apparently it took a really long time for him to discover it and listen to it. He liked what he heard, called the

telephone number on the tape and then called me and put the whole thing together for a thrust at some writing together and an attempt at a major label record deal. It didn’t seem so difficult as he was the biggest rock star on the planet at the time. He was acquiring, owning and launching baby bands like real estate at the time with Skid Row, Cinderella, Gorky Park and a host of others.


Q. Why didn’t you get a major deal back then, because you obviously had the perfect sound

A. Good question. I truly believe in my heart if we would have had another 6 months to a year before the arrival of the first Nirvana record, we absolutely would have had our deal and our first record out and maybe life would be quite different at the moment for all involved in our quest for platinum. Nirvana single handedly surgically annihilated our genre of music from the industry in three months when their Nevermind album blew up and changed the course of music forever. Sending every major label A&R person to Seattle, changing fashion, haircuts, production standards, radio formatting and the way everyone did everything and looked, heard and judged music. Good thing Cobain killed himself or I would have killed him if I ever met him!


Q. Can you tell about the album and it’s songs (stories, production)?

A. Well my memory of it all is that is was a lot of hard work. We were a full time working band and I managed to get back to the East Coast every three months for one weekend to see my long time girlfriend at the time. We had taken some time off to record the album. We had written the songs on the road and it was truly a very exciting time with Jon Bon Jovi’s involvement. We were certain at the time if we got the shot at radio and with Jon’s international endorsement and behind the scenes business machinery at work for our cause, we would be a great success. The type of band we were, which was a “real” band that could actually play and quite well. We felt we were totally prepared musically, image wise and we were all living together and were good friends and we all sacrificed very much to be there at that time for the run to the end zone and the brass ring. We were road ready and well prepared for the live presentation because we worked so much around this country. We had all of our ducks in a row so to speak. As for stories, as with any rock band especially one that was named pretty boy at one time, there are simply too many tales of absolute insanity to even remember. It was a great time in most respects.


Q. You recorded another album, which saw the light of day just recently, tell me about the songs?

A. The creation of the next album might have been a little more relaxed as we had our business and legal team in place in New York and it was a question of waiting for the check at that point to go and make a real record. I think we were settling in with the falsely perceived reality that this was really going to happen and lets learn to think, play and live like rock stars and get used to that mind set, instead of impoverished struggling working musicians. We had some battles over songs to use for the record, as everyone was now aware that if we hit the big time, the writers would make the lion’s share of royalties so just like every band and every marriage, the money began to pollute and poison the creative process.


Q. You played the classic late 80s New Jersey melodic rock a la danger danger, bon jovi, Paul Laine, etc.

which bands influenced you?

A. Well, I can only speak for myself but all of us did have quite a few common influences and that was a great thing for us. We shared a lot of music on the road together 24/7. For me personally I grew up on the radio so it was always bands like Foreigner, Journey, Survivor, Kansas, Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, Kiss and really anyone that had great songs even if it was AC/DC or any harder rock band as long as they were a song oriented band. I gravitated towards music that moved me emotionally and not towards the dark side.


Q. There was talk in the early 90s that MARIAH was to be the next band to follow SKID ROW on Jon

Bon Jovi / Ritchie Sambora's record/production company called 'The Underground'

A. Absolutely the truth. I was friends with Snake from Skid Row for many, many years and he was the one that introduced me to Jon Bon Jovi before his rocket ship took off. I met Jon around the time of his second album. The reason the Mariah story didn’t unfold like that was that Jon and Ritchie had a bit of a dust up about how to run “The Underground” after launching Skid Row and they dissolved and blew up the idea of a company together prematurely. And that is right out of the mouth of Ritchie to me.


Q. Why did you split up?

A. We had moved to New Jersey from the mid west and all the midwest guys felt so out of place like they had checked in to hell. We signed with Trixters management Joel Weinshanker from Shark Entertainment and he turned out to be a criminal and useless and basically divided the band into prominent writers and non-writers and pitted each against the other. The midwest guys couldn’t take the dog eat dog mindset of the east coast and it just sort of fell apart with the singer evolving into a megalomaniac narcissistic dictator constantly firing and threatening band members so it sadly imploded. The industry had changed to grunge and the dark side so it was for the better actually. We would have been hard pressed to find a A&R guy to sign Mariah at that point with Metallica, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and all that blowing up at radio. We were a band out of time.


Q. So you now have 2 re-issues on CD on RETROSPECT RECORDS, I guess you are satisfied to finally

see something out there of your band?

A. I am extremely pleased and proud of everything that we accomplished. Obviously we wouldn’t have kept the company of Jon Bon, Jani Lane, Steve Brown and Bill Leverty and all the lawyers, managers and industry hangers on if we sucked. Sam from Retrospect Records is awesome and he put his money were his mouth was and that in this industry is like the second coming of Jesus. We had a lot of international press back when it was happening from our association with Jon Bon so it all seems to have come full circle and we have Retrospect Records to thank.


Q. One of the MARIAH members ended up playing in BRINTY FOX and DORO’s band, Jimmy DiLella

even co-wrote FOREVER YOUNG for TYKETTO, an unbelievable classic in the melodic rock world,

please tell me all about how you ended up writing this song (please explain in many words, because this

is very interesting, as the song is a landmark for all melodic rock fans!

A. Good question. I formed Tyketto with the singer and the original bass player from the 70’s band Angel. No one knows that. The singer I had brought into the British band Waysted that I was in for two albums. We wrote that song living in Staten Island New York while trying to drum up support for our new project. We took the band name from a name that was spray painted on a subway wall. It was my song title and main guitar riff and at the time I was sooooo into a band call Tesla and of course the lyric is a direct lift from Jon Bon’s living on a prayer.

How could one not be influenced by Jon Bon at the time, He was bigger than the Pope! So I think of it as Tesla’s modern day cowboy tune and Jon Bon’s living on a prayer because that is what I was thinking as I composed that song. Truth be told and don’t let anyone tell you any different. I was there!


Q. What happened to the other members during the 1990s?

A. They slipped into the post musical vapor abyss and industry obscurity as far as I know of everyone. What can you do when you are a melodic rock person and the industry goes grunge? Wear black Doc Martins and a flannel shirt? God knows many have tried to masquerade but it never pans out. You literally wake up one day and say, “what happened and where’s my bag of money for all that sacrifice”?


Q. And other bands/projects the members are involved with at the moment?

A. I never truly cared enough to inquire about them. It’s kind of like a divorce after a horrible marriage. You

really need a lot of time to pass to reach a neutral ground to stand on and reflect on all the great things we did accomplish, all the fun, travel and life experience we shared. Looking back after the bitterness, it was an amazing time and a life changing experience if not economic then definatly in many other positive ways.


Q. Is there a chance for a reunion, if so, did you write any new songs yet?

A. We have not written any songs but with people like you championing our cause and appreciating our music around the world, anything is really possible. I can’t speak for everyone but I think I know those guys after being in the equivalent of two world wars with them. We were all truly musicians at heart and could think of nothing more enjoyable than doing it all over again. If there were a great reason to do so, I would love to be the one to make the call to all the others and say lets go! That would be amazing. With Retrospect Records and the way music fans are in Europe where they are very discriminating and loyal to the artists anything is possible. I’m ready and my bags are always packed to rock!


Q. How does the future look like for MARIAH?

A. I will let you know in six months!


Q. Is there an official website for MARIAH and do you have anything to say?

A. There is not presently but with all this interest worldwide in us and our music I believe one will be coming

along shortly. All I have to say is to humbly thank anyone and everyone who embraces our music and I hope it is enjoyable and compelling to all. It was written out of honesty and we burned out there on the road, worked real hard and hit all around the bulls eye. Thank god the people of Europe are so evolved and discriminating about their music. It gives bands like us a chance to be heard even if all these years later. Things are very different stateside with the flavor of the minute and everyone else is shut down in the industry. I love Europe, lived in Britain and Germany and would love to come back over especially to play music! I was able to see most of Europe with Doro and Waysted and always noticed how music is revered and appreciated. Thank you all, keep rockin’ and don’t become too Americanized! It will be the downfall of the arts in your land.

Thank you

James DiLella

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Nice intereview, awesome band and 2 great releases. Question for you Sam - Why don't you sign them up for a brand new album?? I think that would be a great move for Retrospect Records!! When is the next Mariah Disc due out?? Looking forward to that one as most people say it is the best material the band ever wrote. Will it be silver pressed??


Kind regards


Suncity Records

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Nice intereview, awesome band and 2 great releases. Question for you Sam - Why don't you sign them up for a brand new album?? I think that would be a great move for Retrospect Records!! When is the next Mariah Disc due out?? Looking forward to that one as most people say it is the best material the band ever wrote. Will it be silver pressed??


Kind regards


Suncity Records


Mariah '3 - The Final Demos' is currently in the art department and should see a silver-pressed release sometime in August.


I would like to get them to record a brand new album also.


While Defcon was the fastest seller on the roster , Mariah and Stranger hold the title for top-sellers (in units sold).


Bands like Mariah are the reason I love doing what I do. I have been in the business for almost 20 years and played with some amazing artists , some that never got the recognition they deserved..., I certainly hope that Retrospect can continue doing its part for the bands and put a dent in the Melodic Rock industry....one release at a time....



Sam (posting under A&R reps user name)


P.S. I know there is a lot of fans of Melodic Rock here at HH , if you'd like to work for Retrospect as an A & R rep then you are certainly welcome to PM this user name.


P.S.S. Another great signing this week , I will disclose much exciting news very soon....


\m/ \m/

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I like interviews. Interviews rule. It's always nice to hear the personal side of bands. If an interview is done right it's one of the best things you could ever read. Too bad that so many can't write good interviews. Take some notes, if you're reading, Metal Sludge.

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Good thing Cobain killed himself or I would have killed him if I ever met him!

How many people read that and laughed? :lol:


Great interview, Thanks! I think I'll be getting this Mariah disc soon, I've been hearing a lot of good things about it.

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I was going to quote that exact same line. I forgot in my first reply and I thought I'd get it later. I love the fact that he actually told it like it was. No sugar coating it to be politically correct. I'm glad that he's not taking it lying down like so many artists have.

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