Interview with guitarist Jeff LaBar of Cheap Thrill / Cinderella
Name: Jeffrey Phillip LaBar
Place of birth: Darby, Pennsylvania USA
Favorite album of all time? Physical Graffiti, Led Zeppelin
What is the first CD or LP you ever bought? Brownsville Station was the 1st album I ever bought with my own $. The one with "Smokin' in the Boy's Room". Before that, my older brother, Jack made me tapes of his albums & my parents bought me 45's.
A guitar: 1980 White Les Paul Custom Shop that has yellowed nicely
Favorite musician: Jimmy Page
Favorite band or group: Led Zeppelin
As you describe yourself? I think I'm a 70's British rock influenced guitar player who has made his way thru the 80's & halfway thru the 90's in an underrated rock band with marginal success. Sometimes I feel under appreciated but then again, sometimes overrated as a legend.
Jeff, what are your most recently completed projects and what are you currently working on?
I have a solo record coming out on Rat Pak Records. Check out ratpakrecords.com & Facebook.com/ratpakrecords I also have a few FBs myself. It's all me! I'm singing & playing everything but drums. My 1st single & video is called "No Strings". Tesla's Troy Luccketta play's on the track & the vid feature's my son, Sebastian, Jasmine Cain & Hillbilly Casino's Matt Arnn.
Almost everyone has a song that is special, you would like to reveal what is your song special and why?
I have songs that are special to me. Stevie Nicks' "Leather & Lace" was my wedding song to my 1st wife. Zeppelin's "The Rain Song" is the 1st song my son, Sebastian ever asked me to teach him. But I think "Kashmir" is my all time favorite song.
How did you become a guitarist?
My older brother, Jack played guitar. When he worked after school, I'd take his guitar & dance in front of a mirror to Alice Cooper records. After catching me a few times, he asked if I wanted to pose or play. He showed me 3 chords & a song book & the rest I taught myself by ear, listening to his records.
Who are your main musical and guitar influences?
I grew up listening to British prog rock of the 70's like Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, etc. After I started playing drums, at 1st & then guitar, it was Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Queen & the Alice Cooper band was as big an influence on me as Zeppelin.
Favorite guitar solo you’ve ever written?
I think my favorite guitar solos are all on my solo record. As far as Cinderella, I'd have to say "Talk is Cheap" off of "Still Climbing" '94.
Who is your favorite guitar player of all time?
Up to this point in your career, what has been your most memorable moment?
Day 1 of the David Lee Roth tour '86... Cinderella's 1st arena show, standing on the floor, empty except for crew setting up the biggest staging, sound & lighting I've ever seen. Incomprehensible that I'm playing here, Dave walks up & welcomes me to the tour saying... "It outta be a great crowd for ya here tonight. Anything you need, all ya gotta do is ask". A few nights later & got up the balls to ask Dave for a few more pars of lights. He responded with... "How bout sellin a few more records". I walked away dejected but the next night we had more lights. Our 1st album went gold on that 5 month tour & I was able to buy my mom a new car!
And what can you say about the days of the "Cinderella"? What are your memories of that time?
My years with Cinderella have been the best of times & the worst of times. All the rock n roll cliches you've heard from Motley Crüe & Guns n Roses apply. We just don't air our dirty laundry. I've lived & died with the same 3 guys over the past 30 years & I hope to continue that with the best musicians, songwriters & buds a small town guitar player could ever ask for. Just the fact that we are the same 4 members over all those years should account for something.
To end the interview, a phrase you want to leave ....
I'd like to end with the fact that Tom put out a great solo record. Eric is doing Cheap Thrill & other promising projects. Fred is doing music for TV & movies including NBC's "The Night Shift" & I have a solo record coming out... Finally! All this going on but one things for sure to me... None of it beats what we all did together as Cinderella.