Discovered by Jon Bon Jovi, legendary vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Tom Keifer, has fronted Cinderella for the last 32-years and is still going strong. Currently touring his first solo album, “The Way Life Goes“, Keifer has been a mainstay in the glam-metal, hard-rock and blues-rock genres since 1982.
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Chris Remmers: Coming from just outside Philadelphia describe the city’s atmosphere, and what sites would you recommend someone to see if they were visiting for the first time?
Tom Keifer: There’s so much history there with the revolution, the Liberty Bell and Ben Franklin. All that stuff has always been really interesting to me. The birth of our country, so much of it took place there, I would always recommend seeing the historic district — really beautiful. It has a very rich history in music with every style of music from R&B, to rock and roll, to new wave. Just an amazing town and there is always the food it is famous for — would always recommend a cheesesteak or a Philly soft pretzel.
CR: Funny you should say that! My friends and I have gone on multiple trips to Philadelphia just to sink our teeth into those authentic cheesesteaks.
TK: They are that good! You know it’s funny when I first left Philadelphia back in the 1980’s, when we first started touring, it wasn’t something that wasn’t available across the country. It was our first time we had left our backyard, and I remember being in San Francisco one night after a show, at a club seeing another band play, and they had this large menu. I see cheesesteak as I’m reading, so what do I want? A cheesesteak. They bring it out on a plate and it’s a roll with a steak on it! Like a thick steak, and I am like, “This isn’t cheesesteak.”
Photo courtesy | Michael Righi
CR: Wow, not everyone can make a cheesesteak like Philly can, that’s for sure!
TK: Its an education when you leave your hometown and those things you’re used to are not everywhere in the world.
CR: Culture shocks are one the biggest part of traveling.
TK: Yea, absolutely it is.
CR: How do you think music brings people together? Does traveling to different countries enhance the connection between people?
Keifer’s soulful music draws huge crowds, and traveling is a big inspiration for him when songwriting.
TK: I think music is a great unifier. It’s a common denominator between all of us — helps expressing emotions. I think the best music throughout history is the music that best expresses emotions we all feel, from anger, to love, to frustration. The vast array of human emotions can be expressed over and over in music and it’s amazing. That’s what people connect to and it’s one of the greatest unifiers on our planet.
CR: I could not agree more. Out of all of the cities you have performed in are there any that stand out in terms of crowd atmosphere? Was it inline with the cities nightlife when you went out after?
TK: I don’t do a lot of going out after, I’m normally pretty wiped out after a show or performance. Being the singer and singing with the intensity level I sing I really need to rest. I know this all sounds boring, but I have taken care of my voice since the 80’s. I have always been very careful or conscious of taking care of myself, because I always want to give 110-percent each night.
On occasion we do get out, but it’s hard to pick a favorite city. We left Philadelphia because Cinderella had a record that was exploding and blowing up all around the world. Every city we went to felt like our hometown, but it’s always special to go back and play in your actual hometown — always special for me. We’re actually playing nearby my hometown next week about 70-miles outside Philly at a place called Penns Peak.
I’ve played there a bunch of times with Cinderella, and now I’m doing it with my solo band for the first time. All the cities are great, because when things really started taking off, the reception we received was just magical and it continues today. The last few tours with Cinderella in recent years have been that same kind of feeling. The fans have been diehard faithful and incredible. That is continuing with my solo stuff too.
CR: What about going somewhere new? What is the first thing you like to do when you get to a destination for the first time?
TK: Usually like to eat. I like to seek out a new type of place that wasn’t around the last place we were at. I’m into different cultures and different cuisines from around the world.
CR: Do you have a favorite food?
TK: In terms of culture and cuisines I’d have to say that New Orleans is my favorite. Too me and Savanna, my wife, that’s a vacation. Some people like to go on cruise ships, and we just enjoy walking down to the French Quarter, listening to blues and eating Cajun food. That’s our idea of vacation. There’s no other place in the world like the French Quarter — it’s just amazing.
CR: How do you think music and traveling fit together?
TK: I’ve been asked a lot of times what my process for songwriting is. A recurring theme I always answer with is that traveling always seems to bring out inspiration. I think it’s because when you’re on a plane or bus staring out the window, or you’re driving you go into this trance. Your mind opens up and I think that’s been a great source of inspiration for me and always has been.
Photo courtesy | Phil Roeder
CR: Absolutely. Just by going out and seeing the sites anything can pop into your head at any time.
TK: Yeah, it’s an interesting thing I’ve heard other writers say that too. It’s hard for us to slow down in the society we’re in. At home or a show there’s a million things going on, but when you’re just in that back lounge by yourself on a tour bus staring out the window you have time to turn everything off — even on a plane when you’re thousands of feet in the air staring at the clouds.
CR: It’s an amazing feeling.
TK: Absolutely, turning everything else off just helps you.
CR: Is there a destination you want to see that you haven’t seen yet?
TK: We have never been to Australia and I keep hearing amazing things about it so that’s one that’s definitely on our list. I’ve been to many, many places and loved them all from South America, Europe, Canada, Japan, to the [United States]. It’s funny, a lot of bands go to Australia, and for as many times as we have toured with Cinderella it just never happened there. So that’s somewhere I defiantly want to go.
CR: Lastly, I know you said your next big trip starts soon what’s that looking like for you?
TK: Well, we have about five shows coming up through the end of June. The big agenda this year is continuing the tour behind the solo record. The tour dates are still coming in everyday so we are super excited.
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For more on Tom Keifer visit his website: