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
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
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
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
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 Marshall's 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
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.