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 his group.

Q. Did A and M Records do a good job in promoting Y & T?
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 anyway. (Laughs.)

Q. How many original members are in this band beside yourself?
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 with?
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 on image.

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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