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Solo Album? You're Welcome!: An Exclusive Interview With STEVE WHITEMAN Of KIX

By Ruben Mosqueda, Contributor
Thursday, July 8, 2021 @ 7:45 AM

" I am a true believer that if you don’t use it you’ll lose it"

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Live Photo By Larry Petro/Petrofyed Photography

I last spoke with KIX frontman Steve Whiteman when he was doing press for the remix of Midnite Dynamite Re-Lit in December 2020. As we wrapped up the conversation I asked him about new KIX music and he went on to say, “I have a dozen songs and I have shared them with the guys in the band. There’s just no interest in doing a new KIX album at this time, so I’m going to use the material that I have written and I’m going to put out my own album. I’ll be releasing it in the next several months. It will give KIX fans something to listen to. I would like that stuff to be part of a new KIX album, but right now, I don’t think the guys in the band are interested”. At the time Whiteman figured he would make the [then untitled] album available digitally only, however he elected to make it available physically too. The album is titled You’re Welcome and was self released on July 2nd, 2021. KNAC.COM caught up with Whiteman on July 7th, 2021 to talk about the solo album.

KNAC.COM: When I last spoke with you, it was when you were doing press for the Midnite Dynamite Re-Lit release. Toward the end, I asked you about new KIX music and you mentioned you were working on a solo album.

WHITEMAN: Yeah, that's right. I will add that while You’re Welcome is my first album as a solo artist, I did do some records with FUNNY MONEY after KIX. I wrote those two FUNNY MONEY albums, but this is the first solo thing that I have done.

KNAC.COM: So what has it been like for you to be stepping out all on your own like this?

WHITEMAN: This all just started when Jimmy Chalfant our drummer [KIX] and [guitarist] Brad Divens got together and recorded some cover songs in the studio. Jimmy mentioned to Brad that I had a bunch of songs that I was sitting on. I didn’t know when and if KIX would have gotten ready to record or if they would even be used. Jimmy suggested that we record some original stuff. I went to Brad with some songs, we sat down with all 12 songs that are on the record. My thought was that we’d pick the best 9-10 songs, but Brad suggested that we record them all. Brad said, “Sounds like you’re making a solo album”. I looked at him and replied, “I guess so”. [laughs] That’s how it happened. Then we got Bob Pare [guitar] involved and then Dean Cramer [guitar], Brad, Jimmy and myself. What great players. I’m happy with their performances. On the demos, I played everything, on the album having these guys brought the songs to the next level.

KNAC.COM: There’s a couple of tunes where you’re playing everything. I was not aware that you were this skilled outside of your vocal abilities and your harp playing.

WHITEMAN: I really wanted to make sure that I played everything on at least a couple of tracks. I played rhythm tracks on the album along with Bob. I said to Jimmy, “Hey Jimmy, I know you’re a great drummer, but I have to play at least two songs on this album”. [laughs] I was once a drummer too. In fact, Jimmy replaced me as the drummer in KIX! When it came to guitar solos I left that up to Bob and Dean, because they know how to do that. I have limitations. There’s stuff on the record where I play harp, I had that on the demos, because I don’t solo. When it came time to record the songs for the record, I figured they could put in a solo in its place. The guys were like, “Oh no, keep that! It sounds great on there”.

KNAC.COM: Going back to our last conversation you mentioned you had these songs, some may or may not be KIX appropriate. I asked if these would be songs for the next album and that’s when you brought up the solo album. I know you mentioned you brought the songs to Brad and he wanted to use them all. Are these all of the songs you spoke about in December [2020]?

WHITEMAN: Yeah. That’s it. I felt since KIX wasn’t recording a new album this would be the best opportunity to have them heard. The way I write is a lot different than let's say how [KIX bassist] Mark [Schenker] writes or like how Taylor Rhodes writes. I write in the vein of bands like THE MONKEES, THE BEATLES, ALICE COOPER or BEBOP DELIGHT, those kinds of bands. That’s the stuff that got me into music. I write differently than those guys who are into the AEROSMITH, LED ZEPPELIN, THE [ROLLING] STONES and AC/DC. When we come together all our influences make KIX. For this solo album, I wanted to step aside from all of that and do a true solo album.

KNAC.COM: Since the completion of You’re Welcome, have there been more songs written for later use?

WHITEMAN: Yes. There’s more songs that can be used for a later time.

KNAC.COM: Going back to the new KIX music thing, is there potential for new KIX tunes or are you in the same place as you were back in December?

WHITEMAN: I’d love to do it. I don’t think anybody else is into it at this point. I never say never, but it’s not taking place in the foreseeable future. If we’re going to do it, we need to do it right, we need to have Taylor Rhodes on board for it to make it work, I think. We’re going to be putting a lot of money into it between the producer, studio and other production costs. We’re in a spot where we don’t have a label, so we’d have to find a label or put it out ourselves, which I don’t need to tell you how expensive that can be.

KNAC.COM: I checked out the record via an advance stream, but I have to tell you how thrilled I am that you put this out on CD. When I spoke to you last you mentioned that your intention was to put the album out via streaming platforms and sell it as a download. I can’t tell you how cool it is to have a physical CD. Mine just showed up last night.

WHITEMAN: Thanks for buying it! I know there are fans out there like you that still buy CDs and that is why I decided to do it. I mentioned to these guys, “I don’t know what I’m doing! I’m flying by the seat of my pants!” I spoke to Mark about it and he encouraged me to put this out as a physical product, based on how well the KIX remixes for Blow My Fuse and Midnite Dynamite did for us. I trust his judgement. So I went for it. I think they did an incredible job on the packaging. I initially had 1,000 copies pressed and we’re having to press more, so I’m so grateful. Like I said earlier, I don’t know what I’m doing! [laughs]

KNAC.COM: You guys performed at M3 this past weekend, I assume you’ve done other shows leading up to this. Must be great to get back out there, huh?

WHITEMAN: Yeah that was this weekend. We’ve done a number of shows. It feels great to get back out there. We’re primed and ready to play.

KNAC.COM: You were keeping busy during the pandemic with your lessons as a vocal coach, the writing and recording of the record, and you probably did some cardio as well?

WHITEMAN: That’s right. I am a true believer that if you don’t use it you’ll lose it. During the pandemic I was, like you said, using my voice on a regular basis and was doing cardio at least twice a week. I just wanted to be ready to go when I got the green light to get back out there. I would tell myself “We’re gonna come back and when we do I gotta be ready”.

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