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Metal/Prog Metal Interviews

Y&T

Interviewed by Greg Olma
Interview with Dave Meniketti of Y & T from 2007



MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

You just released a new DVD titled One Hot Night. Why now?
Everybody has been asking for one forever; on our fan forum, on our website. It’s a non-stop bugging us about it. “When are you coming out with a DVD?” “Come on, everyone has got one.” We haven’t really had a DVD. We’ve had video out before, way back when, so we knew we wanted to do it. It was just a matter of finding the right production company to film the right show. Of course, last year we were on the road in Europe near the end of the year and there was a production company that had contacted us to do it out of Germany originally but we weren’t able to make the German date work so they drove up to this date in Holland that we played and shot it - seven camera shoot. They did it all in Hi-def, of course we don’t have it out in Hi-def yet but it will be eventually.
MSJ: How did you decide on picking Europe instead of the US for a location?
Like I said, it was sort of cooperation between the video company and the right gig. If we were going to do it in the Bay area, we know some venues that would be great venues to make it look good but we tried it there last year, or the year before rather, and it just looked flat. It just didn’t look right. Whoever did the production, the company that did it that time, it just didn’t look good. We looked back on it and said “geez, sorry guys, but we missed on that one.” It just didn’t have the right kind of feel and energy to the look of the film. When we were negotiating with this company in Germany, we kind of went back and forth with the promoters of the upcoming shows in that area and said “which one of these shows that we have booked is gonna be a great one for doing the video?” and one of them came back and said “ this one for sure; there have been a bunch of different artists that have already shot DVDs from this same venue so it’ll be a good one to do.” It was just putting it together that way. This DVD company got a hold of us because we played earlier in the year in the summertime at a German festival call “Bang Your Head.” And they got to see us a couple of days later while we were still on tour and said, “hey, check out this footage of this. This is the kind of work we can do for you and we’re fans of the band. We really want to do it.” It was just basically we felt good about these guys knowing that they were fans of the band that would probably do a really good job for the fans. We already knew they were going to do a good job technically as far as getting it on camera correctly and getting the sound right.
MSJ: With so many songs to choose from, was it difficult to pick a set list?
Not too bad. We already had this long list worked out because we were on the road doing a UK tour and a couple of other things right before we did these shows in Holland. We kind of already put this whole set together for the whole tour figuring that when we do the DVD shoot, this is going to be pretty close to what we want on the DVD shoot. Whatever else that we’re gonna add, we already have stuff. We knew the songs. When we do sets on the road, we always kind of change it up from night to night. We’ll maybe do 2 or 3 different songs; we’ll swap with a couple of other ones. We’ve already got a running set list of maybe 30 or 40 songs that we’ve got pretty tight.
MSJ: Are you surprised at how well Y&T music is regarded in 2007?
Yeah. If you were to ask me 20 years ago, I would say absolutely surprised. As it’s gone along, I’ve been continually surprised year after year but I’m sort of getting used to what the feeling is for the band in the current temperature right now with just how difficult it is anyway. I’m obviously proud of the fact that people still want to come out and see us, number one. That’s the most important thing, and that we can have a career of some sort at this point, 33 years into it. There is no way when we did our very first record, if somebody said, “hey, in 2007, you’ll still be touring,” I’d have been flabbergasted. To be honest with you, I was never thinking in the future like that. When you’re young like that, and you’re just looking ahead to make it in the music business, making records and touring, for us, we never thought about 10 years in advance or 20 years. It was just taken as a day to day thing.
MSJ: Are you planning to release your older video material on DVD?
Yeah. We’ve been looking into doing that for quite some time. I’ll just let you know that I started personally putting together all of these videos that I had and that we sort of basically got from all different kinds of sources; either from fans or anywhere we could get them. I started throwing all these videos onto a hard drive and as it turns out, it’s a very big project. So just beyond the scope of our production videos that got released for MTV, I speaking in terms of that [and] live footage through the years from any number of different sources; either legit or literally a fan in the audience [shot video]. The original thought of course was let’s put the production videos, the videos from “Mean Streak,” “Summertime Girls,” “Don’t Stop Runnin’,” and there were a couple of others as well, and then of course we had the live concert that we had recorded for the Live In San Francisco Civic that was recorded in 1985. We thought we would just put all of these together at first. Then we got to talking, “maybe we should do that and put a couple of other clips in,” and then it got to this outrageous idea of putting out our own bootlegs, literally a bootleg of a bootleg. So I don’t know what we’re going to do yet. We are going to put some stuff out there within the next year; either it will be a double DVD or one DVD at a time of different material.
MSJ: You have been remastering the catalog and putting it out through your website. Are there plans to do all of the albums?
Yeah. I think we will probably get around to doing that. I say probably only because we’re trying to figure out what we’re going to release next. What would be something that we really want to get back out there? I think from the stand point of being on A&M records, we’ve done the most critically, you could say, fan favorites over the years. Certainly, we’ve got most of those out there already. Possibly re-releasing and remastering the Open Fire live would be something that we might consider. But at this point, Geffen already has Contagious and Ten still out there. We can’t really get the rights back to do anything with them. We’re thinking more in terms now of either releasing the Yesterday and Today records one more time because we feel we can do a much more up to date job with the mastering process and our 2 independent records in the 90’s which were Musically Incorrect and Endangered Species. I actually would want to get those out there because the material is so good and really never got the chance. We feel that the fans might give them a chance now; with the band back touring again and tastes changing through the years. I think some people might understand those records a little better if we were to re-release them again and get them back out there. That is what we’re looking to do right away and then possibly go back and do the 2 Yesterday and Today records next.
MSJ: Do you have any plans for recording new material for a CD release?
Yes, Right now is the time that we’re supposed to be doing that. Hahaha. But like a bad boy that needs his hands slapped, we’ve been doing other things rather than doing that. We really have to knuckle down and get in there and do it. We have just not given ourselves the chance to do it. We’ve had so many things going on business wise that it’s kind of taken away from getting in the studio. As of tomorrow, we’re going into the studio to get ready for this upcoming tour so hopefully we’ll go over a couple of songs we want to do that we haven’t done and we’ll sort of maybe get a little bit [of time] and maybe work on a few licks and come up with something new at the same time. We are going to do it. It just tying us down and giving us the time that we need to really get started on it. It takes us more than a couple of weeks off here and there. We really need a good chunk of time, couple of months, where we could just carve that out and we can dedicate ourselves to it. I think it will come up in January or February.
MSJ: What was the last CD you purchased?
Wow, a physical CD? Probably it’s a long time because I’ve been doing mostly downloads off the internet, legally of course. Hahaha. Paying for them. Actually, I can remember. It was a double CD when I was touring in England. I saw it at one of the records stores and I said “man, I gotta get this again.” I only have it on record. It was the 2 Robin Trower albums I love the most. I can’t remember the names of the records but I think they were his first two.
MSJ: Twice Removed From Yesterday and Bridge Of Sighs?
Right, there you go.
MSJ: What was the last concert you attended as a fan?
That’s a good question. It was Heaven and Hell when they came to San Jose.
MSJ: What is your favorite “Spinal Tap” moment from your career?
Hahaha. It’s funny because when I saw Spinal Tap at the movie theater, I didn’t laugh almost through the entire thing. I kept turning to my wife and going “this isn’t funny because 90% of what is on this film happens to us”. It wasn’t until the 2nd or 3rd time through, when we were bored on the tourbus watching it, that I started cracking up. “I could just let all of that go now. Ok, I can laugh through this now.” I think the record covers that you didn’t have any control over at all and all of a sudden you see it and go “that’s our cover?,” through doing an instore where nobody shows up and the guy from the record company says “ sorry, I forgot to advertise.” It was amazing how similar so many things were.
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