Dave Meniketti Interview
(Y & T)
"Y & T" (short for Yesterday and Today) have been kicking around for a
long time now. In the early 80's they were a top club act on the West Coast.
They recorded two albums for London Records, then signed to A and M in 1981.
Y and T have toured extensively throughout the U.S., Europe and the Far
East, opening for Aerosmith, AC/DC, Ozzy, Motley Crue, Heart and Rush. As headliners,
Van Halen opened for them.
Now signed to Geffen Records, Y & T's latest album is titled "Ten."
Lead vocalist/lead guitarist Dave Meniketti fills us in on the history of
Q. Did A and M Records do a good job in promoting Y
A. No (Laughs). I could be much more specific I suppose, but basically no.
They had about a third of the people on the record company that really loved
us and wanted to get us somewhere, and they had to fight the rest of the people
in the record company, that didn't care about us. It ended up being sort of
an inside battle which ended up being a nowhere battle, basically, in the long
run. For the top brass as far as they were concerned, we were not the
type of music they wanted to get involved with, even though they signed us
Q. How many original members are in this band beside
A. The bass player, Phil. He and I are original members.
Q. And what happened to the other guys who left?
A. Well, Leonard was basically let go in 1986, for his lack of enthusiasm in
the band. He just didn't want to work hard at it anymore. He just got to
the point where he got real lazy, and all we were doing was fighting all
the time, so it just wasn't working anymore. So, we had to let him go. And
then we let our other guitar player Joey Ales go just before, a year before
we recorded this record, while we were just sitting around writing for this
record. Time changes everything. He was no longer really communicating
with the rest of us on the same level. So, it just wasn't working.
Q. I take it you must have been a big Beatles fan, right?
A. Well, I guess we all were, yeah. We got the name of the band from a Beatles
record; but 1 couldn't take that as a reason why. It wasn't because we were
into the Beatles and that's why we picked it. It was more coincidence than
anything, else. But, we are all Beatles fans anyway.
Q. Dave, you've said, "We've never been interested in
an image." But isn't that something that all great bands have concerned themselves
A. Oh, yeah. Absolutely. And that was something that we avoided the first few
records, and years in the business. Of course, it wasn't all image at the point
when we were starting out. It was on a secondary or possibly a third level
when we were starting out in '76. As it grew into the 80's, it was absolutely
important. But, yet we still continued to sort of do our own thing, and figured
we could hold our own. And of course we never were able to grasp the major
success that we and our fans thought we deserved. But, I think we've certainly
concentrated on it the last 4 or 5 years. We've done more than enough concentrating
Q. Geffen Records was just recently purchased by
M.C.A. Has that brought any changes to your career?
A. None that I know of at this point. As far as I know the bulk of what's going
to happen is going to happen at the beginning of the year. As far as I know
Geffen stays the same. The office, the people are the same, everything is the
same. To be honest with you I don't know if I'm seeing an effect from it or
not. And, I wouldn't know what it would be.
Q. You've had opening bands like Van Halen go on to
bigger and better things. Does that build resentment in the band? What
does that do to the band's morale?
A. I think you resent it at first and then you just learn to live with the
fact that that's just your destiny and that's fine. Just because somebody opened
up for me at one point, I really don't feel that it means that I have to make
it faster than they did. There's lots of people that are moving in different
directions, all the time. Some people are on a constant upward scale. Some
people are moving to the left or right, staying the same. Some people are going
down. It really depends on the timing and everything else. I don't really honestly
resent anybody, that's ever made it. There are certainly some people I personally
don't think deserve the amount of attention they've gotten, but that's my own
personal opinion. There's too many groups out there, and you know that some
of them are going to make it, and some of them aren't. I could probably name
50,000 acts that haven't done anything. As many years as we've been playing,
it's inevitable that some of these people are going to come by and pass
you by. And, a lot of them have been L.A. acts. That certainly has something
to do with it, because there's a big concentration of phenomena that happens
in L.A. They create their own image surrounding that area. So, that tends to
help a little bit.
Q. What do you think it would take to get Y and T to
the next level?
A. We need the same thing everybody else needs, massive MTV play, massive
radio play, and of course a great tour. I think it's unfortunate, but a great
tour is almost the third thing on the list nowadays. It used to be you'd sell
your records by going out on tour. Amazingly though, you can go out on a very
successful tour and come back with very few records sold out of it, and many
more records sold out of the exposure you get on a video. It's something we
would really love to have - a successful video that would last for months and
months in heavy rotation.
Q. What keeps you going Dave? What do you want out of
the business? By now, you must have experienced all the rock 'n'
roll fantasies that most people only dream about.
A. Well, there's no question, yeah. I tell you I've experienced probably almost
everything that anybody could hope to experience in a professional band. We've
had the fan adulation. We've had our peer group people. And we've had all the
bad to go with it that everybody else has had too. I think I probably hit everything.
The only thing I haven't hit is 17 platinum albums on my wall. Other than mass
sales I think I've done everything else that everyone else has done. The only
thing that honestly keeps me going is just the love of creating music, and
playing live onstage. Those are the biggest thrills still at this point. It's
completely a non-thrill to be in the music business. It's anything but fun.
There are moments when it certainly is, but for the most part the business
of doing music is probably one of my pet hates. 1 really do not like it.
Official Website: www.yandtrocks.com
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