Interviews > Index A F > Gary Cherone
The Tribe has Spoken

You can't keep Gary Cherone down for long

      Everyone knows who Gary Cherone is....or more likely who Gary Cherone was. "More than Words" put Cherone on the map as the lead singer of Extreme. Never able to shed a bogus hair-band label, Extreme disbanded after 1995's Waiting For The Punchline. Not unemployed long, Cherone hooked on with Van Halen for one CD, 1998's Van Halen 3. See I knew you would know who Gary Cherone was. Gary Cherone is someone new these days. Having put together a new band, including his old Extreme bassist Pat Badger. With their debut disc, Exit Elvis, out on October 22, the Tribe of Judah is ready to unleash their rock sound on more than the Boston area. Gary was nice enough to talk with me October 1. We talked about his past in Extreme & Van Halen, almost filling in for Axl Rose, his recent writings with ex-Extreme guitar player Nuno Bettencourt, and more importantly the birth and rise of Tribe of Judah.

1. How did you put together the Tribe of Judah and how did it come up about that Tommy Stewart(ex-Godsmack drummer) replaced Mike Mangini?
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2. How has your writing process changed throughout your 3 eras in music: Extreme, Van Halen, and now the Tribe of Judah?
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3. Were you bothered when Nuno Bettencourt took his turn in front of the the microphone for 1997's Schizophonic? Do you better understand what Nuno was going through back then, now that you face the same task of "starting over"?
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4. I was surprised when I got the disc and it read Gary Cherone's Tribe of Judah. Is it a band or more of a project?
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5. The song "Exit Elvis" is very visual, can you tell me a little about it?
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6. You were a part of "The Concert for Life," the show dedicated to the life of Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury. What was it like playing that show and did you pick "Hammer to Fall" to perform with the surviving members?
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7. Random thoughts and words about Van Halen as well as the short history of the EmpyreLounge.com

8. Looking back on it, were you disappointed with your short tenure with Van Halen? Why only the few songs from Van Halen 3 on the VH3 World Tour?
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9. When setting up the setlist with Tribe Of Judah, do you find it hard to listen to your older material with Extreme and Van Halen?
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10. One thing I noticed on Exit Elvis is the background vocals and harmonies are back in your music, after being absent on VH3. Was that a conscious effort?
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11. There are some great guitar solos on Exit Elvis, what do you think of the movement away from guitar solos?
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12. Did any of the songs on Exit Elvis stem from the recording of the second Van Halen disc that you were recording with them?
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13. You recently attended and performed at the Mansfield, MA show of the Sam and Dave tour. Was it weird being at that show with all the ghosts of Van Halen past? Who put on the better set that night?
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14. Do you think your name being attached to Tribe of Judah may make it harder to get the band noticed or played, with the stigma attached to your name of being a hair band singer?
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15. What are your thoughts about digital music and online file swapping?
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16. What new bands/artists are you currently listening to and can any of them hang with legends like the Who?
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17. Were you surprised when you won Best Male Vocalist (Indie Label) and New Rock Band (Indie Label) at the 2002 Boston Music Awards after only a few live dates?
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18. The song "2+2" off of Exit Elvis, took me by surprise, can you tell me about the song?
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19. What are your favorite songs off of Exit Elvis? My personal favorite has to be "No One."
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20. How did you get hooked up with Spitfire Records?
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21. Do you feel any pressure to hit it big again?
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22. If you could put together an all-star band with anyone living or dead, who would be in it?
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23. Are there any of heroes/idols that you have not met yet but want to?
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24. Can you tell me about your two open letters to Eddie Vedder?
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25. One of our writers, Mike Kaveney wrote an article about Messages Music Can Provide. Do you think that musicians have an obligation for their lyrics and actions on stage?
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26. What do you want listeners and fans to take away from Tribe of Judah and Exit Elvis?
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I want to thank Gary for taking the time to talk with me. Hopefully Tribe of Judah hits Philadelphia soon. I know I will certainly be in the audience when they do.

Drop us a line to let me know what you think of what Gary said or just to tell us how much we suck! Email me at cherone@empyrelounge.com