Wayne W. Johnson interview by Stefan Sileghem for Metal To Infinity-8/14/2005-Belgium
To see the actual interview, click HERE
MTI-Hey Wayne, how are you man? Could you please tell me a bit of how CAROLINE BLUE came into being, where you come from and so on?
WAYNE-I’m doing well-thanks. CAROLINE BLUE is a Melodic Hard Rock Band from Upstate NY-USA. I basically had the idea for the band since the mid-late 90s and those ideas started to become reality in 2000.
MTI-How would you personally describe the style of CAROLINE BLUE?
WAYNE-I would describe our style as Melodic Hard Rock music in the vein of bands like KISS. Sometimes we go a little heavier…sometimes we go a little lighter….but we mainly stick to that course.
MTI-What is the overall conception of the band, who’s the songwriter and what about the lyrics?
WAYNE-The overall concept of the band is to record old songs from older bands we were all in-HA! We all have the ability to write lyrics and music. I tend to be very prolific with material. It just so happens that all the songs from the 1st CAROLINE BLUE CD are from old bands that I used to be in. With the exception of a couple of songs, I had a part in writing them-usually the music.
Songs like “I’m No Angel”, “I Can’t Do it Tonight”, & “Did I” were written by a former member of the band named Randy Gray. We still do them because they’re good songs and he was cool with it. When I usually write a song, it’s usually about my past relationships and how bad they were-HA! Check out the next CD when it comes out……
MTI-Was your goal to play this kinda form of Music? How old were you when you started to listen at Rock music?
WAYNE-Not really initially. Originally, I was gonna be a scientist, but that didn’t work out. I basically got into music via the group of friends I was with in high school at the time. They were all into hard rock / heavy metal and most of them played in local bands so you could probably say part of the reason was due to peer pressure.
Another part was to get women cause I couldn’t even get women to pay attention to me to save my life back then. It wasn’t until a few years later when I was taking music in college that I really started getting into music for music. The 1st album that I bought was “Double Vision” by Foreigner. Kinda funny cause it was a choice between that and “Destroyer” by KISS and I picked Foreigner. Go figure…
MTI-Your first favorite rock band / musician ever was…Why?
WAYNE-I’d been listening to a lot of different types of music while growing up-still do. The 1st rock band I started gravitating towards was Def Leppard but they were soon replaced by my favorite band KISS! Their songs really hit me hard and I loved them. And I would have to say Paul Stanley of KISS is my favorite musician. I remember saying to myself about Paul-“Here’s a guy who can do many things (sing, play guitar, move onstage, interact w/ a crowd, write & produce) and do them well.
I wanted to be able to do that as well-in addition to being with all the hot chicks he was getting-HA! Kinda strange cause in my 1st few bands I concentrated on being a lead guitarist more than anything else with greats like Randy Rhoads, George Lynch, Vinnie Moore, Ace Frehley, and Yngwie Malmsteen as inspirations………
MTI-Which bands could be named as influences for you?
WAYNE-For me personally I would say it’s pretty obvious about my KISS influence. I have a wide range in tastes for music, but in the Hard Rock / Heavy Metal realm I would have to say Metallica (Pre-Load), Motley Crue, Judas Priest, Ozzy / Randy Rhoads, Dokken, Yngwie, Bad Company, Black Sabbath…. I’m probably missing some here…….
MTI-A name like CAROLINE BLUE…what’s the story behind?
WAYNE-It’s actually part of a code word for a retail store I worked for in the 90s. Their code words for emergencies were called “Carolines” and a different color would signify a different type of emergency. “Caroline Blue” meant a medical emergency- but I mainly picked it because of 2 reasons.
One-I like the way it sounds and two-to me, it doesn’t lock you into a certain type of music like certain names do. We want to be able to do what we want to do with as few limitations as possible. Not that there’s anything wrong with bands that have those types of names, but that’s just us.
MTI-How does the current line up looks like, was it hard to find the right musicians?
WAYNE-Well….from what the ladies have been saying at the shows, we’re not too shabby 🙂 The current-and IMHO the best-lineup of CAROLINE BLUE has only been together since November 2004. We have me (WWJ) on lead vocals & guitar, Metal J on drums & backing vocals, and Billy Pierce on bass & backing vocals.
Yes-it was very hard to find the right musicians. Anyone who knows anything about CAROLINE BLUE (and if you don’t be sure to visit http://carolineblue.com/ ) knows we’ve had several lineup changes thru out the years. We had some horrible auditions-but it all worked out in the end.
MTI-How many releases from you are available and how do you define success?
WAYNE-We only have the 1 CD available as of right now. I would define success as being able to accomplish what you want and being happy & alive. Everyday above ground is a great day and a great opportunity to do more & become more.
I believe that your only limits are those that are self imposed ( and those bound by the laws of science of course-I mean, I don’t care how much you believe, you’re not gonna breathe water unaided unless you grow gills). You have to have a strong foundation in anything that you do and if you don’t believe in yourself and in what you’re doing, who will?
MTI-The word ” Success” important to you or not?
WAYNE-Yes, but it’s not something I’m obsessed with. This kinda goes with what I said in the previous question. Every time I move forward in the things that I want to do in my life; I get a feeling of success. And a lot of times it’s a series of little success’ that help one to be successful with the bigger things. The more you succeed in what you do, the more empowered you become to fulfill your dreams.
MTI-Did you get great reactions from foreign Hard Rock and Rollin’ Metal maniacs so far?
WAYNE-We got a great reaction from (Stefan), the webmaster of this website in Belgium called Metal to Infinity 🙂 Our drummer, Metal J, does have some contacts with people in Europe and so far, the reaction has been great.
We also have a page on My Space (http://www.myspace.com/carolineblue) that has a number of people from around the world signed up as our friends and the reaction to our songs there has been incredible. We are very thankful for all the great responses we have received so far with the CD & towards the band
MTI-A new CAROLINE BLUE is almost ready to release, right? What can you say about it and when and where will it be available?
WAYNE-Well, it’s available right now and you can go to our website at http://carolineblue.com/ and hit the STORE link and tah-dah….there it is! It’s also available online on CDBaby at http://www.cdbaby.com/artist/CarolineBlue . We plan on having it available at other online outlets as well. We’re very proud of what we have accomplished and we’re ready to move forward.
MTI-Can we compare some older CB songs with the new ones. Is there a different between then and now or do you guys keeps on holding the older tradition?
WAYNE-We’ve been playing the same songs, but with each lineup change, the songs changed a little here and there. With the songs that are recorded on the CD-I’m the only person from the current lineup on it. The current lineup plays the material somewhat differently. I mean-it’s not like you’re not gonna recognize the songs! But they’ve taken the parts and made them their own so if you see us live, you might here a fill that wasn’t there before or something arranged slightly different.
A big change is that the guy (Dave Victory) who played drums on 6 of the tracks on the CD plays a single kick drum-whereas the other 3 tracks were done by the double kicks of Monster Mike Merrifield (Dogs on Mars) . Metal J is also a double bass player and plays with a much higher intensity level than our previous drummers. Billy also plays differently that our previous bassists-he’s a little more active-yet does it tastefully-as does Metal J.
MTI-Are you satisfied with the production?
WAYNE-For the most part. There are 1 or 2 things I wouldn’t mind having changed, but overall I’m very pleased. It’s got a great sound that has a nice balance. I have to give kudos to Dave Huyck & Mike Jaffarian for doing such a great job for us.
MTI-How do you like to promote the new album?
WAYNE-As much & often as possible…. 🙂 Actually, we just try to make people aware of us & give them a choice as to whether they’d like to see / hear us or not. The rest is up to them. If they like us-great….welcome aboard! If not-that’s OK too. There are plenty of bands out there. Promotion is a very important aspect of the business.
MTI-Which bands are the ones that influenced back then and now?
WAYNE-Well, each person in the band has their own individual influences but back in the beginning, the main influence for the band was-and still is-KISS. In the beginning we tended to be towards the more Classic Rock/70s Hard Rock type of sound but currently we’re a little heavier & more intense. A lot of that has to do with the drums-which I mentioned earlier.
MTI-Actually, what is your opinion about older music, I mean old school Hard Rock / Metal?
WAYNE-Personally, I tend to gravitate more towards that style of music-but to me it’s always been the song more than the style it’s from. Like I said before, I have a wide taste in regards to music-although I do admit a lot of it is in the hard rock / heavy metal realm. I like songs from several different styles.
If a song hooks me in, it doesn’t really matter to me whether it’s old school / new school / whatever…..Course, not everyone will agree with what I like, but that’s OK. There’s plenty of music out there for everyone.
MTI-Alright Wayne, how are you guys on stage? A little story of CB’s live experiences would be great. Tell about both awesome and embarrassing moments on stage?
WAYNE-I think we do great onstage-but I’m a little biased 🙂 That might be a better question for someone who sees us. We have fun onstage and give 100% while we’re up there. We do the best we can as musicians & entertainers onstage. There have been many great times on stage- we just recently had a gig where it was almost like we could do no wrong. The crowd was going crazy and we were kinda being mobbed even while we were in the middle of trying to get our gear off the stage so the next band could go on!
They really got into our music and the energy was awesome! With embarrassing-well, there have been a few moments. I remember at a show in late 2003 we did our 1st song-which was “Too Late” and right before I had to sing the 1st verse, one of my guitar strings broke! But being the troopers that we were, we kept going while I slowly took off the guitar and went reaching for my backup guitar. I quickly found out that-somehow-that guitar had fallen off the stand and was now lying on the floor!
So I managed to get to it and put it on-there’s a breakdown section with just bass & guitar before the solo so I managed to get things going and things were sounding fine until we got to the 2nd song-which was “Slave to the Hourglass.” The 1st song used power chords with the low E & A strings. The 2nd song uses open chords involving the D, A & G strings-and, due to the guitar falling, the G string was horribly out of tune. I hit the main riff to Slave and it sounded like several air horns going off! I just shook my head, stopped the song and had one of the other guys talk to the crowd while I tuned up.
MTI-What does the future hold in store for CAROLINE BLUE?
WAYNE-The immediate future involves promoting the CD and exposing ourselves (“Not that way!”) to as many people as we can. Then we’re gonna start gearing up for the next CD. Long term-we’re gonna take CAROLINE BLUE as far as we can go.
MTI-Hope everything will come through Wayne and I wish you all the best with the new album. Any last words to our readers? Thanks for your time once again man!
WAYNE-I just want to say thank you very much for this opportunity for the interview and thanks to all the wonderful people who have supported us and believed. We truly appreciate it and look forward to many more wonderful years to come!