Jimmy Dilella Interview
"Mariah" was formed just two years ago, in 1989. To say their future looks
promising would be an understatement.
"Mariah" counts Jon Bon Jovi as a friend as well as a fan of the group.
Word has it that "Mariah" will soon ink a recording contract, possibly with
Atlantic Records. And if not Atlantic, there are other labels that are more
We wanted to find out what's so special about "Mariah," so we spoke with Marian's
keyboard player - Jimmy Dilella.
Q. Jim, are you going to sign, or are you already signed to
A. Well, what's actually happening right now & we're right in the middle
of everything. We have our producer and his name is George Tutko, and he's
doing "XYZ" right now. And he did the London Quire-boys, And we have our studio
time at Cherokee Studios in L.A. We're in the process right now of sorting
out the money thing. We're kind of stalled with Atlantic, but at the same time
we're playing with other people to see who is gonna kick the field goal. Do
you know what I mean? All our other things are in place like our publishing.
So that's what's happening, as we speak.
Q. Where did Atlantic Records catch your act?
A. I'm from Philadelphia. Awhile back, I couldn't give you an exact date, I
don't remember, but E.M.I. was very interested in the band. And, we came
out here and showcased in New York, at SIR. Actually it was for one person
from E.M.I. But, our manager worked it out, so we could stay the whole day,
and play for as many labels as we wanted to. So, we wound up playing for
six or seven record companies, and Atlantic was one of them. It took all
this time for them to come around. It's been many months man, since we did
that showcase, and to make a decision, about the band.
Q. How does an unsigned band tour the U.S. and Canada like "Mariah" has
done, and make money? You don't have a product, and the traveling expenses
must eat into the profit.
A. We played mostly showcase rooms. We've played the whole midwest. The furthest
that we have ventured is down through Florida, and up through Alabama, and
Atlanta. There's a booking agency out there that booked the band. A couple
of years ago when the band was originally formed, before I was in it, they
were a cover band. And they were just working, and built up a name as 'Pretty
Boy' doing the cover material. And, things changed, and there we were.
(Laughs.) Yeah, it costs a lot of money believe me and we had problems with
trucks breaking down. We worked an average of 4-6 nights a week.
Q. With the success that Mariah Carey has had, is there any
confusion surrounding your gigs?
A. I don't know about that. I know it means the wind. We hear that all the
time. In parts of Winnipeg, Canada, where we play, they tell us there's a fish
called "Mariah." And we're like 'thanks.' But, the band was called 'Pretty
Boy' and that's a little pretentious. It would've been a good name five or
six years ago, when 'Poison' was first starting. We didn't want people to think
we were another make-up band. And there was obviously the confusion with 'Pretty
Boy Floyd.' So, we decided to -change-it-. And 4'm not really sure who came
up with the name "Mariah." It kind of sounds majestic, and it doesn't label
us. One of the bands I was in before is on Geffen and they're called Tyketto.'
We actually saw that name spray painted on a wall in a subway in Brooklyn.
It sounds like such a story, but it really is true. It probably was some little
kids last name. But, the idea again was, it didn't label us.
Q. What do you do onstage that has given you this reputation
for a high energy live performance?
A. We just have fun. Me, being the keyboard player in this band, I'm pretty
much riveted. In other bands I've been in, I've been fortunate enough to play
guitar and keys. But in this band, we have two really good guitarists, and
one of 'em being our lead singer. He's amazing. He's great. He's a really good
Q. How does Jon Bon Jovi fit into the whole "Mariah" story?
A. O.K. Someone, I think it was a friend of the band's, this was before I was
in it, 'cause Jon was actually the one that got me in this band, dropped
a tape of 'Pretty Boy' into one of his bags, or she handed it to him. I don't
know which. It was before the Moscow Peace Festival. He didn't get around
to listening to it for months. He went away. He was busy. Actually, the New
Jersey tour was winding down and they were in Canada, when I got the call.
He heard the tape of the band, and he really thought the singer had a unique
voice. He called'em up. Just like that. He called Dennis. It was a very weird
coincidence. He was" gonna be playing in Winnipeg and 'Pretty Boy" was going
up there to play. They were gonna be there at the same time. So, they got
together. I don't know how it worked, if Jon had a night off, but he went
and saw 'Pretty Boy.' And, Jon really liked the band, and thought the singer
was a star. So, I
got a call at home, 'cause I'm very good friends with Snake of 'Skid Row.'
He's one of my best friends. My name had come up when they were together, because,
Jon felt that two of the members of 'Pretty Boy,' maybe weren't right. He's
like notorious for doing that. I guess he wanted to make the band the best
that it could be, and somehow I got brought up. So, he called me and said, "What
are you doing?" And, I was just home. I was trying to get a keyboard position
in Dio. I don't come from that kind of a musical background. But I just wanted
to keep working. Jon put me in touch with Dennis, who is our lead singer. We
exchanged packages. I learned a bunch of songs, and went out a week later and
auditioned. I came home, got my life together, and the next week I moved there.
I've been there for a year and a half. ("There" is Minneapolis, Minnesota.)
The first week I was in the band, Jon flew Dennis and the guitar player, Timmy,
down to Alabama or some place like that where they were playing. They got together
in a room with Richie (Samborra — Bon Jovi guitarist) and they spent
about eight hours, writing, working on material. I imagine Jon was just trying
to feel them out, to see who was creative and who was not, and that kind of
stuff. Subsequently from that, he's been a friend. So, that's pretty much that
Q. Do you know what's next in your life?
A. The next step is, we're gonna do a record.
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