While the name The Dead Daisies may not necessarily ring a bell, the names of its members certainly will. Bassist/singer Glenn Hughes is most widely known for his tenure with Deep Purple between 1974 and 1976, having contributed a newfound sense of groove and bright, tenor vocals that contrasted frontman David Coverdale’s bluesy growl on their Burn, Stormbringer and Come Taste the Band albums. Hughes also pulled the same double duties as a member of the bands Trapeze and Black Country Communion (the latter featuring famed guitarist Joe Bonamassa). He's also contributed lead vocals to Black Sabbath’s Seventh Star album and for the facetious techno duo The KLF’s hit single “America: What Time is Love?”
Doug Aldridge made his name leading the guitar cavalries with Whitesnake and Dio, though his early years were spent with burgeoning hard rock bands Hurricane and Lion, which gained a sort of cult second life due to an infamous scene from Friday The 13th IV: The Final Chapter in which ill-fated teen Jimmy (played by Crispin Glover) awkwardly dances to Lion’s “Love is a Lie.”
“People still bring it up here and there,” Aldridge says from a tour break in Virginia Beach. “Last night somebody had a Lion album for me to sign. It’s definitely a sweet spot for me because that was my first band that got a record deal. It was a good band, man. We used to live together in a two-bedroom apartment. Our equipment was our furniture. Two Marshall cabinets with a piece of wood on top — that was our breakfast table. We’d sleep on the floor, and when we’d do a gig, we’d pack everything up and the house was empty!”
Alongside Hughes and Aldridge is drummer Tommy Clufetos, most widely known for filling legendary drummer Bill Ward’s shoes for Black Sabbath’s reunion between 2012 and 2017 and his continued work with Ozzy Osbourne. Clufetos is the latest addition to the Daisies lineup, replacing drummer Deen Castronovo, who played on their latest album Holy Ground but was unable to tour with the band due to an injury and commitments to his other band, Journey.
Somewhat of the odd man out in The Dead Daisies is the band’s founder, Australian businessman and aviator David Lowy. Lowy is the president and founder of the Temora Aviation Museum in Temora, Australia, and in 2003 was named a member of the Order of Australia for his service to aviation, particularly the preservation and promotion of Australia’s aviation history through the establishment of the museum. A lifelong fan of rock ‘n’ roll, Lowy was introduced to New Zealand singer Jon Stevens in 2013, after which they decided to start a band. The duo remained the heart of The Dead Daisies until Stevens’ departure in 2015.
Over the last eight years of The Dead Daisies' existence, a gaggle of rock legends have passed through the band’s revolving door: Guns N’ Roses members Dizzy Reed, Frank Ferrer, Richard Fortus and Gilby Clarke; latter-day Thin Lizzy bassist Marco Mendoza; and former Motley Crue singer John Corabi are all among those who have all spent time in the studio or on the road with the band.
One would think that the constant attrition within a band would make it difficult to operate efficiently.
Aldridge, who joined the band in 2016, says it actually takes a lot of the pressure off.
“Once we get a lineup that’s working, we try to keep it going for a while," he says. "The last lineup with John Corabi on lead vocals was great, and those records are cool, but he wanted to take some time off. And being in a collective, you can do that. This is kind of similar to early Deep Purple, where Glenn came from. When Glenn joined the band, they called it Mark III. Then they got Mark IV when they switched guitar players. This is sort of the same thing; you try and keep it together and do what you can while you are together, but eventually people come and go.”
While The Dead Daisies pride themselves on the CVs of their members, the band is not an all-star band that only basks in the former glories of its members. They have released five studio albums, with their latest, Holy Ground, being their first with Hughes fronting the band. The Daisies recorded the album in a chateau in the south of France, Exile On Main St.-style, where the band lived and grew together, allowing them to formally gel with their new frontman.
Aldridge had previously played guitar with Hughes on the latter’s solo tour in 2015, but this was the first time the two were able to actually create new music together. Aldridge says that the addition of Hughes to the band has been a shot in the arm, creatively and performance-wise:
"These are seasoned guys, they’ve been around the block. Everybody knows that we’re very fortunate to be playing music and it’s a gift.” – Doug Alridge
“David and I started writing some music, but once we started talking to Glenn, I thought, ‘I know what Glenn likes, he’s a heavy groove guy and he loves melody,’" Alridge says. "Songs like ‘Like No Other’ were designed for Glenn. A lot of guys that make records in their twenties, and they get into their fifties and sixties, they can’t do that anymore, but Glenn’s like this freakish character where he can sing even better than how he did when he was 25 years old. It’s amazing. He’s a treasure.”
Ultimately, The Dead Daisies’ purpose is a recreational one that showcases the talents of its members and provides a safe, stress-free environment for its members to bask in the beauty of rock ‘n’ roll and all its joys.
“When David started this band, he did it because it’s fun to play music. It feels good,” Aldridge says. “If there was somebody who wasn’t into it, we would say ‘Maybe you oughta take some time off.’ We wouldn’t want to perform with that person. But these are seasoned guys; they’ve been around the block. Everybody knows that we’re very fortunate to be playing music, and it’s a gift.”
Considering all that Aldridge has done over the past 35-plus years, that gift is a precious one. From his days in Lion sleeping on the floor to performing in front of 20,000 and more people every night with Whitesnake, Aldridge says that the 1985 version of him would be very proud of how far he’s come.
“There was no guarantees back then," he says. "I think a lot of people look at where they are right in the moment and say ‘I really want to be here or there’ and they can’t really think about the future too much, especially when you’re supporting yourself.
"When money’s tight, you don’t think too much about when you’re gonna be old,” he continues, with a laugh. “Who knows what the future holds or where I’ll be in 20 more years? Right now, I’m just excited about where I am. We’re on this tour, it’s going really well, we’re navigating through a really strange time. We’re playing shows, people are having fun, we’re having fun. It’s going well.”