Britny Fox Second Interview

They're one of the hardest working (and rockin') bands around. In just a year, they played to more than 625,000 people at over 130 shows. On tour with Poison, Joan Jett and Ratt, they've won rave reviews from magazines the world over. And, it certainly helped sales of their debut album, which sold over a million copies.

They're Philadelphia's own — Britny Fox. "Boys in Heat" (Columbia Records) is the group's latest release, and we spoke with drummer Johnny Dee about his group's "overnight" success.

Q. Johnny, just how difficult is it to get the word out that Britny Fox has a new record out and you’re on tour? There seems to be so many groups popping up every day vying for attention.
A. The market is definitely flooded with bands and albums. I try to think about if I was a kid buying albums right now, what would I do? It would be impossible to even afford most of 'em, let alone find out about half of 'em. We hope that we have a step above the rest, because our last album did fairly well. It kind of started a whole buzz on the band. We've got the label support behind us. There's still a lot of people who don't even know our record's out yet. That's basically why we're on tour. We're doing whatever we can to get the word out. If you sit around and wait, it's just not gonna happen.

Q. Your lead guitarist, Michael Kelly Smith, told one interviewer that he sees Britny Fox as having longevity and a lot of promise. How much of a role does Britny Fox play in their own future? Isn't it a corporate decision? And what influences the record company to continue your contract is the buying habits of a fickle audience.
A. It's something we really want to do, but obviously we've got to keep that in mind, that if we don't sell a certain amount of records, we might not be around as long as we thought. I think we're still true to our audience. We're trying to expand a bit, too, and pick up some more people. That seems to work for a lot of bands that have been around for a long time. Stay true to yourself and your own sound, and try to expand on that as you can.

Q. One of the main criticisms leveled against hard rock bands today, is that they all sound and look alike. How do you respond to that observation?
A. Well, it wouldn't really upset me at all. I think the problem is that once a band gets successful for being a little bit original, then 20 or 100 bands try to copy that formula. I don't think that's the right thing to do. I think everybody should go for what they do, and be a little bit different. This type of music has been around for a long time and it always will be. There are people out there who basically enjoy this type of music, no matter who looks like what, it's all down to the music. If you've got good songs, then people can relate to them, and they'll buy your record, and they'll enjoy it.

Q. Would you say that being a drummer is the toughest job in a rock 'n' roll band?
A. I don't think so. Actually I think it's one of the easiest. For me anyway. I'm totally self-taught. I just play basically what I feel, whereas some instruments you can't even begin to play unless you have lessons and know some sort of theory. Drums are really a little bit less technical anyway, for the kind of stuff I do. If you want to be a virtuoso at the drums, I think it's probably pretty hard, but that never really interested me much. I always wanted to be a drummer in a rock band, playin' rock 'n' roll songs. I never got too involved in the learning process. I'd hear a beat on a record, and I'd sit down and just try to play it, try to duplicate it. It's worked out good for me. It's just a matter of what your expectations are, and what you want to go for. I know people who want to be the best they can be at the drums or whatever instrument.

Q. Where do you see the world of hard rock heading? Will we see any surprises?
A. 1 don't really know where it's gonna be heading. The amount of bands and albums coming out, kind of hurts the whole thing in a way, because it takes away from other things. It kind of clutters things up. For instance, touring isn't what it used to be. You've pretty much got to be a platinum act to get on a support slot on a major tour. Bands just don't want to chance taking other bands out unless they're guaranteed, gonna draw people

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