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Mister Kenny Hickey (Type O, Danzig, Seventh Void): The Man Himself

By Mick Stingley, Contributor
Monday, February 12, 2007 @ 12:12 AM

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After a four-year absence, Type O Negative is back. "DEAD AGAIN" is set for release on March 13th on SPV, and the guitarist for Brooklyn goth-metal doom outfit made time to speak with KNAC.COM on Thursday afternoon (February 8th). He's open, he's honest, he's charming... and he's got a great story about touring with Danzig.

KNAC.COM: Hey Kenny, good to talk to you!

HICKEY: Hey, thanks for making the time to talk to me!

KNAC.COM: Type O has a new record coming out in a month or so, and that's very important to a lot of people. As you well know, Type O is one of my favorite bands... but I have a whole bunch of things I want to ask you, and whatever you want to talk about is great... but first let me ask you this: it's the top of the year, you played your first gigs with Type O out in LA, you were at NAMM... tell me a little bit about that. It's been a while, was it good to be back with Type O?

HICKEY: Ooh... it was fuckin' great man! We had a blast! It's been like three years since the band, since we did any shows... and it was fuckin' fun is what it was, man! It was all based around my guitar company- Schecter Guitars. It was initially hatched between me and Mark -McCord(?), who is the vice-president of Schecter- years ago- like three years ago we talked about doin' this. And then went out to play, Schecter has this big blast at House of Blues... anyway... for NAMM. So it started with that, then it ended up being... two other shows attached to it, because, the next show that we added, like, sold out almost immediately and stuff, so they added even another show - so we did three shows in a row.

KNAC.COM: That's fantastic.

HICKEY: We did the signing at NAMM and the convention and stuff- that was real successful. I signed at Schecter booth with, uh... it was me and the guitar players from Avenged Sevenfold and this other band Hinder, and a lot of people... like a hundred and fifty people, like an hour and half- it was great. They got me drunk!

KNAC.COM: Nice! Right on!

HICKEY: And then, uh... the first Schecter show was a private party, just for the industry; but it ended up being that there was, like, a lot of fans there, of course, because it was like, first come, first served. And we just went up on stage and we did our usual schtick. We had a blast, man! The shows went great. Attendance was great- I saw a lotta young new faces and stuff... you know, I flew my wife out- we had a blast! It's good for the band, you know? It kinda... uh, uh... starts the buzz, you know? Gets the word on the street, let's people know that we're coming back...

KNAC.COM: And Peter's not dead...

HICKEY: Yeah- we're back, we're coming back!

KNAC.COM: Have you ever worried about that- given the duration of time between records- that people will forget about the band, because there's a time lag?

HICKEY: Well, do you worry about going broke? (laughs)

KNAC.COM: (laughs) I worry about it every day!

HICKEY: Four years without makin' a dime- it's fuckin' rough, dude! (laughs) But I try to keep busy, you know? I try to do whatever I can!

KNAC.COM: But the response was good out there in LA?

HICKEY: Yeah. Yeah... the response was good. I mean- we sold out three nights in row! The third night- it wasn't a total sell-out, but we came close that last night and there were still a lot of people there. Maybe close to three thousand people or something like that…In one weekend.

KNAC.COM: Did you play new material?

HICKEY: No we didn't! (laughs) In classic Type O fashion, we did NOT! We originally intended to... we intended to play "Dead Again" because it was supposed to have been released on the internet, as, you know, to get the first song out there, as a teaser. Somethin' went wrong with that, it fell through, and so... Peter, he hates to play songs if people never heard them before. He feels they kinda look at you like you're from another planet, you know? So, at the last minute of course, that got cut. Unfortunately, but we did intend to...

KNAC.COM: How were the kids from Avenged Sevenfold and Hinder to work with at NAMM?

HICKEY: They were fun. I didn't really get to speak to them, much. I mean, we were signing, they were right next to me... there was like, four of us. (pauses) They have some young fans, dude! (laughs) I even said to one of them, "Dude, some of these kids are like, fourteen!" - and he goes, "Yeah, I know..." And I thought, "How do you exploit that?" (laughs)

KNAC.COM: So you're sponsored by Schecter...

HICKEY: The show was sponsored by Schecter- yeah... I'm endorsed by Schecter. I love and use Schecter guitars!

KNAC.COM: I've seen you guys a lot over the years, and one thing I've noticed about you is that, playing live, you don't change up guitars too much.

HICKEY: Yeah, with Type O, the only time I'll switch guitars with Type O is if I go outta tune. You know? I tend to hit the strings real hard. I got my tech stretching the shit outta them, but usually by the fourth or fifth song they're all outta tune. But, what's really beneficial with Type O is, like, there's a lot of long periods and breaks right in the middle of a song, and I won't have to play a note and I can switch guitars right in the center of a song, so you might not even notice it. And they're all the same- they look exactly the same. So, you know...

KNAC.COM: Some of these bands, young bands, death metal, 80s bands- whatever- they come out with ten, twelve guitars for different songs and stuff-

HICKEY: Sorta like changing dresses or some shit.

KNAC.COM: -but you seem content, or can't be bothered with all that- or do you only write on the one guitar?

HICKEY: I can do it all on one guitar. The sound's coming from, you know, the Boogie system, TC Electronics, with the effects, and the guitars are all made the same. So I'll go out with a set of three, cut from the same wood, made exactly the same. So that when I do switch, there is no difference in tone.

KNAC.COM: Who are some of your heroes, guitar-wise? Who influenced you?

HICKEY: Brian May. Jimi Hendrix is number one. Stevie Ray Vaughn.

KNAC.COM: Did you ever see Stevie Ray Vaughn?

HICKEY: No... I didn't get a chance to see him. I stood in the spot where his helicopter went down. Wisconsin- we played the same place.

KNAC.COM: So... Kiss... none of that stuff ever influenced you?

HICKEY: Oh, well, Kiss- Kiss- you know, yeah, of course! Ace Frehley was my first inspiration, you know. I was about, what? Eight. And Black Sabbath of course- Tony Iommi.

KNAC.COM: Now when I last saw you play...

HICKEY: Was that with Danzig?

KNAC.COM: No- it was that time we all went out to Duff's-

HICKEY: Which time? (laughs)

KNAC.COM: (laughs) After your show at the Delancey- with Seventh Void...

HICKEY: Oh, oh, oh... alright. wait- did I go that night?

KNAC.COM: Yeah, you were there.

HICKEY: I did, I did! I was sick that night. I sucked.

KNAC.COM: No, no...

HICKEY: I came down with pneumonia before I went out with Danzig and then when I came back it fuckin' rough. It was so rough, I quit smokin' now. I got like eleven days now, I'm one man. I ain't goin' back! It was just makin' me sick, and I got asthma too!

KNAC.COM: So now you're chewing gum.

HICKEY: I've been smokin' for twenty-three years, so no doubt... (laughs)

KNAC.COM: Well- wait, let's talk about Danzig. Tell me a little bit about that.

HICKEY: Well with the Danzig thing, actually, Glenn had asked me a few times, when Johnny first joined the band. And I couldn't do it, I was too wrapped up with Type O, obviously, and then starting Seventh Void. It was too overwhelming, you know? Fucking twenty-five songs, those freakin' rippin' leads- I ain't got time for it, you know? But then, uh... his manager came up with the idea and he asked me, they were going out in November, so I guess it was around October. At the time, we were done with the- I was finished with the tracks for Type O and I was pretty much done with everything else. So I thought, What the hell, man? I might as well just go for it... I'm sure it's gonna be another four years before the next Type O album, and I needed to do something. (laughs) So I got it together and went out. and, uh, you know what? It was a blast! It was fuckin' great!

KNAC.COM: What were some of the songs you liked to play with Danzig?

HICKEY: "Bringer of Death"is one of my favorites- that's a fuckin' awesome song! It is my favorite. "A Long Way Back From Hell," what a great song. All the old stuff, you know? I like the older shit. And of course the Misfits set that we did with Doyle, you know, which was awesome to play. I was a Misfits freak, man.

KNAC.COM: Did you ever know any of his other guitarists...John Christ, Todd Youth...

HICKEY: Actually, well- no I never knew him, but I think I met Todd- but John Christ I knew. Sure. Type O toured with Danzig back in the day, 1994, 1995. We did like two six-week legs with them. And that was the peak of his career and the peak of our career. That was a great time... great fuckin' guys.

KNAC.COM: Did you play some of the newer Danzig stuff? "Circle of Snakes?"

HICKEY: Yeah... we did. That's always like the first half of the set.

KNAC.COM: Did you do "Wicked Pussycat?"

HICKEY: No, we didn't do that. I tried to accentuate the older stuff with him...

KNAC.COM: Any fun stories about touring with the man himself?

HICKEY: Touring with the man himself? Yeah! The last show got cancelled. You know why the last show got cancelled? Glenn fired... who did he fire? He fired the monitor-guy. So... he had the truck-driver take over. (laughs)

KNAC.COM: That sounds kinda funny...

HICKEY: So the truck-driver ended up being the monitor guy. He mixes one show at the Wiltern, right? And after the show, the show goes great, and Glenn goes, "Yeah, the monitors were great!" So- now I gotta go into the next room to change because there's too many people in the dressing room, right? So I'm starting to change, and there's the truck-driver-slash-monitor-guy, doin' a big line of cocaine... (laughs)

KNAC.COM: (laughs)

HICKEY: He goes, "You want some?" And I'm, like, "No, thanks." And so I got dressed and left. Well, it turns out, the guy goes on a binge and fuckin' steals the truck! (laughs) Okay?

KNAC.COM: (laughs)

HICKEY: And now- later- I'm sleepin' through all of this, but I get the story second-hand, right? So they're searchin' for the truck all over Hollywood. With the bus. Searchin' all over Hollywood. AND THEY FIND HIM! (laughs) They spot the truck - and it's parked- like on the side of the road! And he's sees them- he sees the bus comin' and he takes off again!

KNAC.COM: (laughs) You're following him in the tour bus?

HICKEY: Right! Chasin' him like a fuckin' cop chase! The bus is chasin' the truck driver who's on a gak-binge and stole the truck! So then- they find him- they catch up and they find the truck again- it's parked. Near this group of hotels, there's like three or four hotels, so they start checkin' every hotel, right? These two tour managers, two big guys. So finally, they go over to one hotel- and they see him there- checkin' in! And they just walk up to him and deck him in the face! Get the keys from his pocket... and of course the guy gets fired. it was fuckin' insane! So now- it was too late to get, anyway, to the next show. So the last show got cancelled. So I wake up at eleven thirty in the morning- they wake me up- "You're goin' home!" And I'm like, "Whaddya mean I'm goin' home?" And they go, "You're goin' home-you're on the plane at two o'clock in the afternoon, that's it, kid!" Friggin' two o'clock in the afternoon in my dirty underwear, I'm on a plane! And that's how the tour ended!

KNAC.COM: (laughs) Nice! Nice!

HICKEY: But that environment is very similar, very similar to Type O... so I just fit right in.

KNAC.COM: Well- for the people who've seen the DVD, "Symphony for the Devil" your touring antics have become, well, I don't know if legend is the right word...

HICKEY: Yeah, it is. We're kinda like, at this point in my career... we just tour until the wheels of the bus fall off. Or until somebody goes insane or gets committed...

KNAC.COM: Now the new record is coming out in March, are you working on tour plans right now?

HICKEY: Oh, sure man. We got the whole tour plotted out already.

KNAC.COM: It is?

HICKEY: Yeah, we start up last week in March, in the States; we do a big horseshoe around the country goin' east...to the northeast, to the west... and it's done sometime... March, April- I think first week of May. Then we head out to Europe.

KNAC.COM: Do you have a New York show lined up?

HICKEY: (laughs) Uh, no. I don't think we'll be back playing here until the fall. I didn't see a New York show, unless they're still setting something up. It might end with a New York show, but it hasn't been booked yet.

KNAC.COM: What? Dude, what the fuck? I feel like I'm being kicked in the teeth here.

HICKEY: No, no, no, no, no.... we'll get here. You'll see. You'll see us.

KNAC.COM: Okay, all right. Fair enough. Let's talk about the new record a little bit- "DEAD AGAIN"- coming out in the US on March 13th, is that right?

HICKEY: Yeah, yup.

KNAC.COM: Four years in the making... what are some stories behind it? What are your favorite songs?

HICKEY: I'm very proud of the album, it's an awesome album. Great album, great Type O album.

KNAC.COM: It's got a lot of everything, almost as if you picked each Type O record apart... and that song, "September Sun"- a total classic Type O ballad.

HICKEY: Yeah, yeah! That was the first song we worked on! That's the only thing Peter had written, that beginning piano part, that was the first thing we worked on. And the way the album developed, we had this room we rented in Rockaway, okay? It was dead friggin' winter and we started in September. But we spent eight months in this room, dude. Five, six days a week, eight hours a day, you know? And, he just had that part, that idea, and then we all just jumped in and started jammin' on that song... we used to jam that song, I swear to God, like an hour and fifteen minutes straight, hour and a half... that whole outro jam, seventies ending, you know? (laughs) And every song developed that way, basically, you know? We just jammed for hours and hours and hours.

KNAC.COM: You contribute a lot more vocally on the new album, is that correct?

HICKEY: Yeah, but I don't think it was intentional. Just that, a lot of times, if- if we're gonna choose for me to sing a part, it's usually because it's out of Peter's range. And the way Type O songs develop, too... "Let's see... we gotta do this part, at one beat per minute, four times, and it goes on for eight minutes-then we gotta change keys, ya know? We gotta change tempos!" And that's the way it works, you know? A lotta tempo changes and key changes and it's hard to keep track. So a lotta times it ends up that when Peter gets on the mic down in the basement, he can't get his voice that high. So that's when I get called.

KNAC.COM: Now on "Halloween In Heaven" you've got the singer, the girl from...

HICKEY: Tara, from Lycia. I wasn't even there when they did it, but Peter's always been a big Lycia fan, so that was his idea. And I think it works there, which is cool. Changes it up a bit. I mean- yeah, man I think she sounds great!

KNAC.COM: It's interesting because, and correct me if I'm wrong here, but Type O Negative has had a pronounced influence in music over the last five or ten years.

HICKEY: Yeah, maybe the last five... in Europe, definitely. Maybe ten...

KNAC.COM: Lacuna Coil, HIM, Sentenced...

HICKEY: Well, what happened was that we had a really large impact in Europe right from the get-go. And now we've got this Euro-metal invasion coming on here, kinda spilling over...

KNAC.COM: Were you bigger in Europe than the States?

HICKEY: Well- I can't say by numbers that we're bigger there- but I think we're more - maybe held as a more important band, as far as musical influences go. I mean, maybe. It sure seems that way.

KNAC.COM: Does that surprise you?

HICKEY: Nah, not at all, man. I mean, I think it's cool. Lacuna Coil came over and did eight weeks with us...

KNAC.COM: I remember- L'Amour and Irving.

HICKEY: Exactly. Great people, Lacuna Coil. But, no- it's cool with us. It's the best compliment you can get. I met the guys from HIM, too, at Hammerstein, the last time they were around.

KNAC.COM: Well, I dig it all because it's just nice to have something to keep me going between Type O records.

HICKEY: You gotta have something to keep you going.

KNAC.COM: What keeps you going?

HICKEY: Ah, you know... I got Seventh Void and now I got Danzig, so I try to keep workin'. But it's not like there's a whole lotta free time, because this has been developing for a tremendous amount of time. I mean- we started this record back in- over a year and a half ago. We started in September and went straight through until April. Last April. We started developing it at the end of the summer... 2005. It was a long period of time.

KNAC.COM: That's pretty typical for Type O.

HICKEY: Well, we procrastinate a lot. Everyone gets into their own shit. Then when we finally get down to it, which is usually a year after we finish our last tour, which is also about a year and half... that's when we get down to it.

KNAC.COM: There's a great camaraderie with you guys that comes out on tour...

HICKEY: Well, Josh and Peter, they go way back from when they were kids. But I've known Peter since I was sixteen, fourteen actually. I grew up with Lou Beato, the original drummer from Carnivore. I've known Johnny eighteen years. Same neighborhood... yeah, we're brothers.

KNAC.COM: One thing I've always wanted to ask you about that... on "Unsuccessfully Coping," there's a part there near the beginning when Peter calls you in before the first lead break...

HICKEY: He's actually imitating my mother. (laughs, imitates Peter) "KENNY!" The first time he ever met my mother, he was showing me some part of a song, we were in my room- this was a long time ago- and my mother came bustin' in the room, yelling at me, "Kenny! We've gotta go pick up the Christmas tree!" Like she almost had a panic attack! (laughs) So it's been this ongoing joke... forever.

KNAC.COM: Now let's see... oh! A long time ago- the Type O website used to feature some of your writing. You're a writer, dude! What happened to all of that?

HICKEY: Oh, yeah, yeah. The "war stories." Well, what happened is- I got sober- well, clean - and it was really hard to go back to, because it would make me wanna use again. So, I kinda had a problem with that. I wrote some more afterwards, but I just started writing music again. ADD. I just jump around. But- you know what? There's time enough to write when I'm fifty.

KNAC.COM: Ever think of keeping a tour diary?

HICKEY: Nah, I mean- that's kinda what that stuff was; but a tour diary? That's too boring for me. Plus we've got the videos now.

KNAC.COM: What are you doing for videos for this record?

HICKEY: Well, we haven't done anything yet, but we do have Jeremy of course coming down and he's got his camera and stuff. So even if something isn't happening, he'll make it happen! (laughs)

KNAC.COM: Any idea what the first single is going to be?

HICKEY: We haven't chosen it yet, officially. It's still being kicked around. Right now it might be "These Three Things."

KNAC.COM: And how is the relationship with the new record company?

HICKEY: It's been really good, thus far. A couple of reps came out to the Anaheim shows we just did, we went out on the town, so they got a full dose of Type O. A couple of them nearly had nervous breakdowns, but they get used to us. (laughs)

KNAC.COM: Now I know we're not supposed to talk about it...

HICKEY: Seventh Void!

KNAC.COM: Just a great... an amazing band. And you guys haven't been doing that long...

HICKEY: Well, thanks man. Thanks. But, actually, it's been like two years now, but there's so much other shit going on, this one's doing this, this one's doing that, Danzig... and the time we got to work on it gets crammed in and we gotta rush, you know? And it ends up, it seems like it hasn't been that long, you know?

KNAC.COM: And your guitarist, there- Matt? He works for Lou Reed, is that right?

HICKEY: Yeah! And that's another thing, cuz he goes with Lou! And that's why we still haven't finished our tracks yet. He's back now, though... Matt Brown. He used to be in this band Uranium 235, real smart guy...

KNAC.COM: Oh, yeah! I saw those guys a while ago. One of them used to be in "Law And Order"...

HICKEY: Yeah- well, Matt, he was the guitar player from Uranium! Now I'm just trying to get that sorted and I've got some vocal tracks to do and then we've gotta get them all down to Vinnie down in Texas. Vinnie Paul. We're gonna release it on his label.

KNAC.COM: So you're not gonna shop it?

HICKEY: No, you know why? Vinnie just loves the shit, and he's been backin' us since day one and we feel real obligated to him. Vinnie's got great distribution, too. So I don't see the point of even tryin' to go to a major label and get eatin' up and spit out by them. It's gonna be an indie no matter what, you know? But it's gonna be a while. Vinnie's got that "HellYeah" band with the singer from Mudvayne, and when Type O winds down with our shit and Vinnie winds down with that... we'll release it.

KNAC.COM: Now you're gonna be out with Type O for a while, though, right?

HICKEY: Oh, yeah. At least until the end of the fall. At least. So maybe something with Seventh Void... end of the year, probably November.

KNAC.COM: Was this a reaction to the lag between records with Type O?

HICKEY: Definitely so. You know? I can't sit around for a year and do nothing.

KNAC.COM: But for now... it's all about Type O.

HICKEY: Oh yeah. Definitely.

KNAC.COM: All right Kenny... I think we've covered everthing-- thanks for taking the time to talk to KNAC.

HICKEY: Hey- thank you! And we'll see you around soon!

Type O Negative will be releasing "Dead Again" on March 13th, 2007.

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