Feature from Blast! Magazine May 1987
Whenever anybody tells you a Cinderella story, you know there’s a happy ending coming. This Cinderella story has a happy beginning, but the happy ending is nowhere in sight! Tom Keifer, frontlips and persona of this two-million-plus-selling band is the type of guy you need to unpuzzle in order to get a clear picture of him.
To his right, pretty blond bass player Eric Brittingham (blonds have more fun, and men don’t deserve that much hair.., ); to his left, Jeff LaBar, a Eurasian Jake E. Lee-type- looking guitarist, and behind him, stickslugger Fred Coury. That’s the picture you get when the band is on stage. Off stage, the scene is pretty quiet, especially when you leave it up to Tom. Tom likes peace and quiet and misses his home, he says. March 2, 1987 – who on earth would leave California to go to freezing cold Indianapolis… if it weren’t to see the hottest show touring the country right now?!
The Bon Jovi/Cinderella tour is selling out like hotcakes everywhere, but today is special for the fans, as well as for Jon Bon Jovi, who celebrates his 25th birthday!
Officially, Cinderella has been around for four years; in reality, the band, as we know them now, for about two years. Tom Keifer formed and guided the band through various lineups, along with Eric Brittingham. About two years ago, when Jeff LaBar joined Tom and Eric, things started looking up. The last necessary amendment took place last year when Fred Coury joined them on drums – all major changes for a new band that was scheduled to record a first album, and a scary prospect for four guys who hadn’t really played together that long.
Call it luck, call it timing, call it whatever you want. Very few bands make it as big as Cinderella has right from the beginning, and this band is definitely going places. I’ve seen the band perform six times so far, and I’m impressed, They have improved so much since the first time I saw them on the DLR tour. It spells “success…
Tom, Jeff, Fred and yours truly squeezed together in the time of arrival of the pizza delivery boy!
Tom speaks softly (as in, shove the tape recorder under his mouth!), and although he realizes that interviews are dreadful things that need to be done, I’m sure, while he was talking to me, he was fantasizing about a king-size bed, blinds closed shut, phones off the hook and a never ending sleep.
Sorry, Tom, That happens only in “Cinderella-land”!
The band is thrilled with their newfound success. They love playing live, but all three admit to having a hard time adjusting to life on the road and living out of a suitcase for seven months.
Tom has Cinderella’s career well planned out, and nothing is left to chance. That’s why he says the band waited to tour until an offer came along that would give them the opportunity to cover as much ground as quickly as possible. That offer came from DLR, and who’s more road-wise than David Lee Roth?
Despite the band’s huge following, they’re not striking out on their own on a headlining tour yet. “It’s still not the right time,” Tom explains. “You can sell a lot of records really quickly because of exposure on TV and radio, but that only means that you’ve entertained the listeners and viewers for a mere three minutes, When it comes down to concerts, you’re talking about entertaining them for an hour, and it takes a little more time to prove yourself.”
Their new video clip for “Somebody Save Me,” the one where Tom demonstrates some superb wolf-howling, features Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora, and they’re getting the girls. Neither Jon nor Richie is in need of extra exposure. That means there’s more to it than meets the eye. “That’s true,” admits Tom. Usually our manager comes up with the video concepts, but we really got heavily involved in the ‘Save Me’ video. We were supposed to have a guest star, Sam Kinison, a comedian, but it all fell through when Sam called up 20 minutes before the shoot and said he didn’t want to do it. Needless to say, we had to figure out something else to do fast.”
Was that when it occurred to them that Jon and Richie had a day off, maybe; therefore, they should be ordered on the set, without auditioning them first, I want to know? “Sort of…laughs Jeff.
How would Tom describe his fellow band members? “A***holes!… Oops! Strike that from the record!” he laughs. “Well, since they’re sitting here next to me, let’s see… Fred is the one who keeps things always light and on a humorous note. He’s the comedian in the band. He will speak up immediately whenever there is anything wrong. He’s a good guy…
“Jeff is an observer. He comes up with some great stuff when you least expect it. In the studio, he would pick up on things that were going by everybody else. He’d say, ‘No, you stupid idiots! Not that… this!’.., after we were looking to correct something for three hours! He’s real good that way.
“Eric’s definitely the nit-picker of the band. Eric could find fault with one million dollars. You could give him a briefcase with one million dollars in it, and they would be the wrong size bills, He looks for very small details as opposed to the general whole picture of the situation.” Now Tom had his fun… how do the others feel about Tom? “He’s a leader that you wouldn’t think of as a leader,” states Fred. “You can ask him questions anytime, and he’ll always give you a straight answer. He always knows exactly the direction he’s going and doesn’t screw around with the stupid stuff. He’s the Leonard Nimoy of the band. In search of….! He’s smart!”
“He’s the smartest motherf***er I’ve ever met in my life,” adds Jeff. “He knows what he’s doing!”
Say no more.., these little quotes have secured their jobs for at least another year!
The immediate future plans include another video shoot, for “Nightsongs,” and after the American tour ends on July 15, Tom will have his long-overdue and well-deserved sleep in his own bed in his own house. When August rolls around, the band will again join Bon Jovi on the European leg of the tour, starting with the Castle Donnington Festival, followed by the Monsters of Rock tour throughout Europe. In the fall, the band will go back in the studio to record their follow-up album for an early 1988 release.