Mad Margritt - 2003
By Ronnie

Back in August of 1999 when the very first issue of EAR CANDY hit the world wide "newstands", our very first interview was with a hard rock band from Atlanta called MAD MARGRITT. Here it is, 2003 and they are still at it, with a new record label and an album to promote. I recently caught up with two members, Eddie Smith (vocals/guitar) and Danny Belli (drums) at their practice space in Atlanta. While Danny was a total riot, cracking me up with his often off-color humor, I wanted to concentrate on the BAND. (Although I edited out most of his very un-politically correct humor I can always sell them to VH1’s “Behind the Music” when that day comes…). Mad Margritt are truly a band that LOVES what they do and their devotion to their music comes through in this interview.

Right: The 2003 Mad Margritt lineup

E.C.: A lot has happened since the last time we talked in 1999. You've had a lineup change within the band - how did that come about?

Danny: (deadpans) We fired everybody. (everyone laughs)

E.C.: Steve Dietrich was your original bass player correct?

Eddie: Yeah, Steve left for a little while. Last time we had talked to you, we were getting ready to go out on the road and he had just settled down, got married and had a kid. It wasn't really something he wanted to do at the time.

Danny: Then his wife found out about it.(everyone laughs)

Eddie: Right about the time that we parted ways with Skip (bass player after Steve), Steve was itching to get back into it, so the timing was just right.

E.C.: Why did Mike Teeter leave?

Danny: It's just like being in a relationship, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

E.C.: How did you get Derek St. Holmes to do backing vocals on "Nothing Can Keep Me Away"?

Eddie: He does a lot of work with our label and is on several of their tribute compilation CD's (Aerosmith, AC/DC one which we're on, and Poison). Perris also distributes his [Derek St. Holmes] solo CD's so he's been working with them for awhile. We became friends because of that connection.

Danny: We knew him years before that [Perris Records connection].

Eddie: He lives in Atlanta and we just crossed paths one day. He was an idol to me growing up and it was awesome having him sing on the CD.

E.C.: How have things changes since signing with Perris Records?

Eddie: It's night and day, they are so on the ball!

Danny: Great distribution!

E.C.: To me, the new album seems more influenced by '80s "hair" bands than your previous work. It just seems like there was a little more emphasis on the slick, polished production of the '80s - would you agree?

Eddie: It just turned out that way. Actually we really went into it to keep our sound and our roots but maybe experiment a little bit. We approached the recording a little different, we did a lot more stuff. A lot more 'dry’. We didn't use a lot of the 'big' drums sounds, we tried to move away from that. But I guess it is just in our blood.

E.C.: What was the attitude while recording NEW SENSATION? Did you want a departure from your previous recorded work?

Eddie: I don't think we want to go off like Rush used to do, where every album was totally different. We wanted to branch out and experiment a little bit. Bands like AC/DC are awesome, but it's the same album every year. We just wanted to keep our sound the same and just kinda experiment a little and try a few new things.

Danny: And then we didn't put those on the CD! (laughs)

Eddie: We were going for that N'Sync meets Britney Spears sound. (both laugh)

E.C.: I think one of your secret weapons is Eddie Smith's strength as a songwriter. You have a knack for both memorable and catchy songs in the tunes that you have written (or co-written). How often do you write?

Eddie: It's not a forced thing with me, I'm always writing songs. But there have been times where I've gone months without writing. And during those times you're just soaking in life and then, it will come to you again. Most of the time I hear the song in my head or I'll write a guitar riff and then add the song that way.

E.C.: Do you have a backlog of songs for the band to choose from?

Eddie: We've got so many songs.

Danny: We could probably put out two more CD's right now.

Eddie: We just need someone with money to burn. It would be a great investment!

E.C.: Now that you are with Perris Records are they going to demand a certain number of albums within a time period?

Eddie: He wants us to put them out more frequently. Being an independent band we have a small budget - so we can blow our budget pretty quick – tones on the guitars, performance and stuff - we spend a lot of time in the studio on that.

E.C.: Will there ever be an Eddie Smith solo album?

Eddie: I doubt it, because there is so much freedom in this band. If I did a solo album it would sound just like a Mad Margritt copy.

E.C.: I like the broader scope of your sound on this CD, the piano really adds. Do you have a keyboardist for the piano songs when you play them live?

Eddie: No, but we're gonna figure a way to incorporate it, though.

E.C.: Has the allure of the live show lost ANY of its appeal over the years?

Eddie: I mean, that's what we live for playing live! If I could play 365 nights a year I would.

E.C.: What's the typical tour schedule like for Mad Margritt?

Eddie: A band of our level, it's not like we can just go out there 10 months at a time, it's sporadic. We'll go out for a few weeks, come back to Atlanta and go out for a few more weeks. We stay pretty busy.

Danny: And then somebody will call us up, 'can you do a one-nighter here and there'.

Eddie: I mean, we've shot off all the way to Wisconsin just to play one or two shows. A lot of times we're opening up for bigger bands, we've played with Ratt more times than I can remember.

Danny: We flew out to Vegas.

Eddie: Actually, speaking of the Vegas show, Tom Mathers, President of Perris Records saw the band for the first time playing there. At the time we were still with Delinquent Records and had just got the news that they were going out of business. Tom said he loved our show and asked if we wanted to release our next CD on his label.

E.C.: Didn't Mad Margritt work on the Perris AC/DC tribute album first?

Eddie: Actually during the recording of "New Sensation", We approached Tom about adding our version of "TNT" to the AC/DC tribute CD that was already in progress.

E.C.: Will we have to wait 3 years for the next Mad Margritt CD?

Everyone: (laughs)

Danny: Unless you have a lot of money to send us right back in the studio!

Eddie: No, actually the plan is we're going to start back at it real soon. We're in discussion with Tom about doing songs at Perris Studio. We'll see how that goes. We feel that we just need to get the songs on track right away so we can take our time in perfecting the sound. I predict our next CD will be out in a year and a half.

E.C.: What about a live album?

Eddie: You know, we've talked about that. A lot of bands that work with Perris right now have put out live albums. Every Mothers Nightmare and Pretty Boy Floyd. I think we're gonna wait one more CD and get a little bit more material.

E.C.: Mad Margritt has stuck to their guns for several years now. What gives the band such dedication to the music?

Eddie: We don't know how to do anything else! I mean this is the kind of music that we're gonna live and die by.

E.C.: Do you foresee a day when you see a resurgence of this music like the popularity of the '80s?

Danny: It is already over in Europe. We're getting great support over there with the radio stations. Some people that I know just got from Europe and they said it's all '80s rock over there. (Germany, Denmark, France). Those people are still kickin' ass on the '80s shit, so we're looking to go in through the back door.

E.C.: Will Perris Records send you to Europe then?

Eddie: We're actually 'in discussion'.

E.C.: Will Danny ever host a "Girls Gone Wild-Danny Style" videotape Like Snoop Dog did?

Danny: I'm sure! There was no hesitation in that answer, you noticed that?

E.C.: What does the future hold for Mad Margritt?

Everyone: (silence...pause...laughs!)

Danny: Were looking to go out big time with success, fame, and fortune.

Eddie: We're just gonna keep doing what we do. If the major labels wanna sign bands like Sugar Ray and all that crap, let em.

Danny: Well with us, its like 'oh this is fresh', even though it's '80s and it's kickin, but it's fresh.

Eddie: We have an '80s sound, but because we weren't big like Motley Crue in the '80s. We are looked as a new band with an older sound.

Mad Margritt Discography

1997 COLD SWEAT - Independent Release

1999 IN THE NAME OF ROCK - Delinquent Records

Featuring members of Ted Nugent, Britny Fox, Dangerous Toys, Ever Mothers Nightmare, Tyketto, Mad Margritt, Cherry Street, and original AC/DC vocalist Dave Evans

2002 NEW SENSATION - Perris Records

Click here to visit the official Mad Margritt website