Powerhouse vocalist and front-man for KIX, Steve Whiteman, will be releasing his first-ever solo album, “You’re Welcome,” on July 2nd.
The album contains twelve high-energy songs that are everything that you would expect from him; pumping riffs, punchy drums, infectious hooks, and huge choruses. Collaborating on this solo effort is longtime friend and drummer for KIX, Jimmy Chalfant, original KIX guitarist Brad Divens, and new KIX guitarist Bob Paré. Together they have created an album full of hard-rock gems that offer fans plenty of light and shade with varied dynamics. Songs like “Easy,” “Prick Tease,” and “Tug of Luv” all work nicely together and flow seamlessly. This album’s credit goes to Steve, who initially crafted and played all the instruments on the demos and then played many of every instrument on the final tracks.
Pre-order “You’re Welcome” at this location.
Correspondent Robert Cavuoto spoke to Steve about his first solo effort ever, which song came to him like a gift, and the current status of KIX without guitarist Ronnie Younkins on tour.
Check out their conversation transcript below, and remember that for more interviews and other daily content, make sure to follow Sonic Perspectives on Facebook, Flipboard and Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified about new content we publish on a daily basis.
Congratulations on your first-ever solo album!
I’m really excited about it. I’ve done solo stuff before with Funny Money, where I wrote most of those songs up until the last two albums, but on this album, I wrote everything and got a chance to play on everything as well. It was really fun.
You also have Brad Divens, Jimmy Chalfant, and Bob Paré on this record.
Brad was the whole reason we got to do this album. He is the Front of House sound engineer for many national bands and was out on tour with Enrique Iglesias at the time prior to the lockdown. He has a studio at his house because bands are always asking him to do mixes of their live show. He was bored out of his mind during COVID and called up Jimmy to do some cover tunes to put on Facebook to get some experience with his studio. Jimmy told him that I was sitting on a batch of songs and wasn’t sure if I was going to use them for KIX. I went over and played all twelve of the tracks, and Brad wanted to record them all! We had Bob come in, who is covering for Ronnie on this tour. He is an old friend of the band, and he was responsible for the guitar sound on the rhythm parts and most of the leads. I also had a buddy of mine from Funny Money, Dean Kramer, come in, too, so it was a joint effort. In December, we had to go virtual because of COVID, so Jimmy did most of the drum tracks from his house. I did some drum tracks at Brad‘s studio initially. I think Bob and Brad were the only two that got together, and we wore masks and socially distanced when they were recording. Dean came in when things were starting to ease up. A lot of it was done virtually, but you can’t tell as it sounds like we are all in the same room due to technology.
When we spoke in November, you were still undecided if you were going to release these collection of songs as a band or as a solo effort. What made you decide to take the solo path?
I didn’t have a plan for it when we were recording it. It just kind of evolved after we were all talked and agreed that this should be a solo album. I was lucky enough to get the people at 37–Media who handled the re-releases for KIX. They have been essential in getting the word out that it is available in virtual and physical formats. They have been amazing!
There is some great material on the album; you certainly haven’t lost your comedic wit and dirty mind with great songs like “Prick Teaser “and “Tug of Luv?” How is important is that aspect to your style, from KIX to Funny Money to this solo album?
That is an aspect of my personality as I’ve always been a horny devil. It’s obvious in my songwriting. I love double entendres like with the lyrics of Bon Scott. His lyrics were so clever and fun. I’ve also been inspired by him with his stories trying to figure out whether he was trying to be sexual or how does he mean it? That is always how I approached it.
The lyrics on this album are more straightforward [laughing].
Every time I hear someone say “Tug of Luv,” it makes me laugh! It’s pretty self-explanatory.
Songs are written in different ways and for different purposes based on your frame of mind. Do you do find yourself creating something adequate one day then suddenly creating something very special the next?
Oh definitely! These songs took on many twists and turns since I started writing them three years ago. I would put it down for six or seven months and pull them only to change them so it could be better. I was tweaking them all the way up to the time we recorded. One song that took a big turn was “Kid Dynamite.” That wasn’t the original title. I don’t even remember what the original title was. The song is about Ronnie and all the stuff he had been going through. I felt compelled to write a song about him. On stage, he is Kid Dynamite; he’s an explosive performer and thought it would be a perfect title and be a perfect story.
What song off this album would say came to you like a gift?
I would say, “Do Me Like You Done Me Before.” I wanted a straightforward Rock & Roll song with that type of beat, which fit perfectly with the chorus. That song wrote itself.
Did you play all the instruments on your demos?
I played everything on the demos. They kept a lot of the rhythm that I played on the final track as well. I got to play bass on a couple of tracks. I played drums on a couple of tracks as well. I wanted to do it as a bucket list and say I played every instrument except solos because I suck at that. Just because I have the ability and did play everything on the demos, it was important to play everything on a couple of the tracks.
You mentioned that you had twelve demos. Did you save anything for a new KIX album?
I’m always writing. I don’t know what is on the horizon for a new KIX album. Putting out the re-releases is generating interest. We have Beau Hill helping us out in that department for the last two KIX re-releases, “Midnite Dynamite Re-Lit” and “Fuse 30 Reblown.” It’s not that we don’t want to do an album; it’s more of, is there a reason to do an album because of the cost involved and the minimum number of sales that you need. We are not a rich band like Cheap Trick, who can put out an album every year because they have the means to do it. It doesn’t matter to them if it sells well or makes money. When we do it, we need to at least recoup our investment. It’s a lot of work, and is the money going to reap the reward is the big question. If we did it ourselves and didn’t feel the need to bring in a producer, maybe. We used Taylor Rhodes to produce “Rock Your Face Off.” He did such an amazing job, so much so that I don’t think that Mark Schenker [bassist]would want to work with anyone else. His fee is pretty high up there for us to come up with.
It’s disappointing news that Ronnie Younkins is sitting out this KIX tour. We are all hoping he is okay? Can you share some insight into the situation?
It’s been an up and down adventure with Ronnie over the past five or six years. Sometimes he doesn’t show up to gigs, and Brian Forsythe has to take over and play all the parts. Then he comes back for several months and does really well, only to fall off the wagon or get in trouble with the Police. This last time, he got into trouble with the Police and is currently in a halfway house under house arrest. That’s the biggest reason he is not out with us now. We were looking at Bob Paré a couple of years ago when Ronnie was going through a bad stretch, but Ronnie bounced back. When he shows up, he does great, so we didn’t make the move back then. This time we were forced to.
Please give Ronnie our best!
We all do! I’m not saying that Ronnie is out of the band. We are just saying until he gets it together, so his family and these people that are helping him say he is good to go. We are not going to bring him in until he is ready. He has shown in the past he can’t be sober on the road. Being out there in a Rock & Roll band is a very bad environment.
That sounds like a sign of a great friendship.
We have a long history of 40 years together. You want to give him the benefit that he is going to recover and do well. There have been so many times over the last five or six years; now, we didn’t know if he was going to make it.
Do you think we will ever see a solo tour or play any of these songs with KIX?
We wouldn’t include them in a KIX set. Brian just regrouped his side project that he loves, Rhino Bucket. In the past, they have gone on these long European tours with 32 shows in 35 days. They will do that again next January/February; if the guys I worked with on this album are interested in doing some shows, I would be more than happy to do that. I’m not saying it’s definite, but it is possible.
KIX played some socially distanced concerts and drive-ins; what was that like?
Because it was such a release to go out and play again, it was a lot of fun. We played a drive-in, and even some guy’s house [laughing]. It was goofy, but we got the gig. Every once in a while, you need to get your ya-yas out. The drive-in show was amazing as they pulled off the production extremely well. Everyone got out of their cars, so it wasn’t really that big of a stretch, but it was still a drive-in show.
KIX is a band that really feeds off the energy of the crowd, was it a challenge to perform at a socially distanced show?
I had to get rid of a lot of audience participation which I like to do. I let it slide for the night and barreled through the set. We’re Rock & Roll vets, so we know what we are doing. It’s like autopilot; you get out there and do what you do best.
I don’t believe KIX ever did a lockdown concerts during COVID.
We were asked to do one, and I shot it down just because of what we were just talking about. In a drive-in show, you will get a little feedback, but I had no interest in jumping around in front of a camera with no audience to feed off of. It’s like a comedian doing stand-up in front of a camera. You get nothing from it. So I thought it was best not to do it.