interview by Michael McCarthy
As the pandemic finally seems to be coming towards some semblance of an end, more and more rockers are getting back up on the stage where they belong. One rocker who recently did some live shows for the first time in a few years was Donnie Vie, who you may remember as being one of the founding members of the criminally under-rated hard rock band Enuff Z’Nuff. Donnie was the sole songwriter of 95% of Enuff Z’Nuff’s songs as well as being their main guitarist and the group’s much beloved frontman. I was curious to learn what it was like for him to finally be back on stage and what he’s been up to since we last spoke in 2020. In the following interview we cover that and much, much more, including some of the heavier topics he wrote about in Enuff Z’Nuff. Enjoy!
MM: First of all, I know you’ve been doing some live shows for the first time in a while recently. When was your first show back and how did it go?
DV: As well as it could at the time. The first actual show when I started playing again was a few years ago. That was a place called The Space and they did an acoustic storyteller and that was the first time I’d played in six years and it went really well. Then I put a half-assed band together for a show and that did really well business but the band wasn’t the right band so that was it. But I’ve got a band now that I’m working with that are really good and it’s gonna be great.
MM: Who’s in the band at this point?
DV: Well, we had a record called 1985. We actually recorded that before we did the debut record and the drummer from that, his name was Bo. Well, Bo is drumming for me and he’s always been one of my favorites and he sings great. And his sons – he has two sons, one’s 23 and the other one’s 20 – and they play guitar and bass and sing so I’ve got a one stop shop. I’ve got those guys and another guitar player and a keyboard player and they sound like the fucking record. Unbelievable. I’m playing next month in New York and it’s another acoustic storyteller show but I happen to have some buddies out there that play so I’m gonna use them then.
MM: What was it like getting back out there? Were you nervous at all?
DV: Not nervous. I have really bad anxiety. I always have. That’s why I’d medicate with so much because I couldn’t deal with anything. I couldn’t be around people. I’m never nervous, I’m anxious. And it’s tough. And I’m doing it all all natural now. So when these shows come up I get really anxious for a while a week beforehand. Especially if I have to travel. And especially if I have to travel without a tech and I have to just go with somebody who’s there because I can’t pay for another flight then I get really anxious. It’s terrible. But once I’m up there then it’s all good. I’m on the stage and all the fans are there and they’re singing along and they’re really happy to see me and it goes really well. Afterwards, I usually get some anxiety again because there’s usually 20 people at a time that are trying to talk to me and it’s pretty hard to do that.
MM: What has the feedback you’ve been getting at your shows been like? Are people really glad to see you back up there?
DV: Oh, yeah. I mean, every single fan from every single performance is walking away happy. Definitely pleased.
MM: I know you were thinking about going out and playing and not playing guitar, just going out and singing. Did you try doing that at all?
DV: With my band that I’m using now I have two other guitar players. I’m playing all the acoustic guitars. My original stuff has a lot of acoustic guitar in there and you can hear it. And I play piano on a few songs. And some songs I just sing. The more rocking things. The easy stuff. The three chord rock like we had in Enuff Z’Nuff. Those I just sing so I can get around and make contact with the fans.
MM: When people go out and see your shows and they’re talking to you after, do they compare what they see you doing to what they see with Enuff Z’Nuff now?
DV: Yeeaaaaaah, unfortunately. I mean, it’s sad. That was my whole life. And I had a little legacy of music there. Nothing major, but I had great records that I wrote and always delivered and then all of a sudden it turned into that. And not by my doing. There was nothing I could do about it. And once again, it just joins the ranks of all these other 80s bands that don’t have their singer. But it’s not my fault. And there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s sad and none of the fans like it either but it doesn’t really concern him. He even told me point blank, he doesn’t care. Now he wants to do his thing. But why can’t you do your thing without using the name? So we could get back together every once in a while and do some good shows and they’ll be worth something.
MM: I went to see him the other day and it was an Enuff Z’Nuff headling show and they only did 11 songs. He brought out guitar legend Gary Hoey and they just jammed for half the show. Not even playing songs. Just like random jamming without vocals. That was half the show. And they only did seven of your songs, which I thought was ridiculous.
DV: Oh, yeah, he’s got to do his own. That’s his ego. He can’t sing those and he’s trying to convert it over to his Enuff Z’Nuff. But I don’t use the name. And if anybody should be able to use it, it should be me.
MM: Have you thought about putting together a band and just calling it Donnie Vie’s Enuff Z’Nuff? To differentiate and so people will know yours is the real deal?
DV: Probably in the UK and in Europe and stuff. Because I own the name over there. He didn’t buy those and I got those. He didn’t think of that. So I’ve got the UK and I’ve got Europe and Japan so I can call it just Enuff Z’Nuff but I don’t want people to get confused and think it’s that. Or I would do that.
MM: I know when you did “Strangers In My Head” with Chip for that Enuff Z’Nuff album, you weren’t sure what his agenda was and it sounded like you were kind of hoping it might be path forward to doing more with him but then that never happened.
DV: Right. Exactly. That didn’t happen. But that’s how things were. He was dealing with me because we were doing this Cleopatra licensing deal for the catalog, which is another thing he needed me for because he wanted that to go smoothly. So that was the deal. But he doesn’t want to do shows with me because if you have an Enuff Z’Nuff show with the original singer then who’s gonna want to book him?
MM: How many songs do you usually do at your shows?
DV: Well, I’m working on a two hour plus show. A headlining show. It’s 45 minutes if it’s an opening slot. But I want to cover as much as I can in that amount of time. We’ve got 30 years of stuff. 25 records collectively to pick stuff from. You can’t do it all but it’s gonna be a really good show. Maybe 15 or 18 songs.
MM: Are you doing any songs that you haven’t done live before or at least not in a while?
DV: Yeah, a lot of them. All the solo songs. I’ve done them acoustically but a lot of that stuff I’ve never done live with a band. And a lot of that stuff I have never done live with either Enuff Z’Nuff or just myself. A lot of cool stuff. I think about what I would want to see if I was a fan.
MM: Last time we talked in 2020 you had somewhat recently gotten sober and things were going really well with that. How have things been going on that front?
DV: Oh, man, I’ve never looked back. It wasn’t even a problem for me once I finally got clean from that and got away for a while. Now I don’t think of that shit. When I think of that, it just leads me to so many bad fucking feelings and memories. It used to be I could always find the drug dealer in a room. I’d see the signs. But now I don’t even see any of the signs. I’m not looking around.
MM: Now, being sober, does that mean you have to stay completely clean? Or do you still smoke weed or anything?
DV: I smoke weed. I grow weed. Yeah. That’s all I do. Or something with my name on the bottle. Some antidepressants and some other shit. That’s all I take. None of the fun stuff.
MM: Gotcha. What advice would you give to someone reading this who wants to get sober themselves?
DV: Someone who wants to get sober themselves? Well, that depends on how much they want to get sober. It’s inevitable what’s going to happen if you don’t. So you have to turn that around and replace the people you’re around and the place you’re at. You have to really want it badly. That’s the whole thing. You’re sick and tired of being like that and feeling like that and that’s the only time you’re really gonna quit. Because they could put you in a million rehabs and it still ain’t gonna do the job if you just spend your life trying to do something. So you’ve gotta replace that with other things and once you get some time under your belt you start seeing the way that you’re clusterfucked and out of control when you’re getting high. It’ll snowball in the other direction when you’re doing the right things and just putting good days together and you see that. Then you’re more apprehensive to go and throw all of that away and start all over again. Because you’ll usually lose your family, your friends, the place you live, all the stuff you own, all of that when you’re a drug addict. People lose their wife and their children. But if you want it, you can do it. You have the power to do it. If I can do it [laughs], anybody can do it.
MM: If you could go back in time and give your younger self any piece of advice, what point in your life would you go back to and what would the advice be?
DV: Childhood. Make a plan B and put some effort into school and things like that. And don’t put all your eggs into one basket. Knowing what I know now about how things have changed and the way the future is, I would be like, focus when the internet comes out and make sure you’re really focused on that and be on the early show for any of that. Or reconsider that it’s not gonna be what you want it to be by the time you get there. Oh, another thing, keep off of the drugs. Stay away from the drugs and alcohol.
MM: How do you feel about the music business these days?
DV: How do I feel about the music business? I think it’s shit. It’s all business. That’s how business is. There’s no opportunities. And it’s just over-saturated with crap. Nowadays the mentality of the youth and people like that is that they’d rather watch some Tik Tok channel of people getting fucked up than finding good bands. It used to be the only thing you had to judge somebody on was the records and maybe the picture on the album cover or an interview you might read that seems well thought out. And what’s promoted with publicists who say look at and this. But nowadays they know every single thing. All your dirt. Every single thing about you. They fuck with your life and your personal business and it’s a fucked up music business. But it’s fucked up with all kinds of businesses.
MM: What do you think about most when you think of the late Ricky Parent and Derek Frigo?
DV: Frigo? When I think of him, I think of all the sadness and the chaos when he and I would get together and all of the time that we spent fucked up. And when I think about him, my heart bleeds because at the time I was just angry with him all the time. Because he didn’t actually put in the effort. He was just that good of a player that he could just play. I resented that because I was partying as much as he did but somebody had to write the songs and sing so I resented him for that shit. And later on in life we kind of made up right before he died. And Ricky Parent was the sweetest, easiest going dude to work with. Respectful. Took direction really well. Was a great player. He was a funny guy. The complete opposite of Vic Foxx.
MM: I don’t hear too many people say too many good things about Vic Foxx.
DV: He’s a good drummer but he’s not worth it. Because there’s a lot of great drummers out there who won’t do the things that he will do to you.
MM: When Chip put out the Brainwashed Generation album, I think that every review I read said that “Strangers” was the best song on it. Were you aware of that and how did that make you feel?
DV: Of course I was. I always knew. I knew from the minute that that happened that that would be the case. It’s what they’ve expected all those years and wanted to hear. And so I figured well, that will start things out, just give them one new one with the old formula. Everything else on the record, I know exactly what his records are going to sound like before I even listen to them. There was one other song on there, too, that was an old demo that we had written many, many years ago. Those were the two ones. I forget the name of the song but he sings it. But it was a terrible version. I don’t want that to be the case. I don’t wish that on him. I don’t. You have to be content with your position and whatever you’re doing and be the best at that job and not be wanting to, you know, do what he does. If you’re not showing your strength you’re showing your weaknesses. He’s an amazing bass player. He’s a great politician. He always plays the game really well. He goes out there and networks. But as far as a lead singer and a writer for Enuff Z’Nuff, I mean, not in general, but for Enuff Z’Nuff, he just takes stuff in a different direction. I don’t want to just sit here and knock him the whole time. I really don’t want to do that. But these are the questions you’re asking, man.
MM: OK, let’s talk about some of your albums a bit. How did you guys finance 1985 back when you made that?
DV: Remember I mentioned that guy, Bo, the drummer, he hustled up a few hundred bucks from somebody and that got us started in the studio with a couple of songs. We’ve always been fortunate that we’ve had friends and people who admired what we did so we would get a lot of deals for studio time when they didn’t have anybody in there. Then we hooked up with that manager Ron Fajerstein and then we had our record deal.
MM: When you were signed to Atlantic, was it the 1985 recordings that you played for them or did you already have the songs that were to go on your debut with them recorded in demo form?
DV: We hadn’t really shopped the 1985 stuff. I don’t know why. It was a different band. And we wanted to shop the stuff that had the guys that were in the band at that time. When you make your first record, your first record is basically your greatest hits up until that. We’d already did  and it was already something that we could use someday but it wasn’t that band and it wasn’t the sound of that band or the style of that band in particular. I actually preferred it. It has a much more pop rock direction than when you start adding the metal and the glam and 80s rock shit. I was never a big fan of that. Well, it’s not that I didn’t like it. It’s just that the 80s music is so white. 80s rock and metal. It’s just so white. I like R&B and that stuff and the melodies of all the black and Motown stuff. And the country flavors. That was the kind of shit that I loved. But what was the question?
MM: I was asking if you played Atlantic the 1985 recordings to get signed.
DV: We had some demos from before and after 1985 with that line up. But we gave them 60 to 100 songs to listen to. I had written so many songs. I wrote a bunch with him and back then we would write them so fast. And you can hear the innocence and the youth of that band that hadn’t really matured or evolved or developed our character yet. But they had a lot of songs to choose from.
MM: I think my favorite song on the Atlantic debut was “I Could Never Be Without You.” Is that one of your favorites?
DV: Off that record? Yeah, absolutely. Definitely nowadays. With the hits, I’ve gained my respect for them and appreciate them more now but those are played out and we played them to death. But, yeah, “I Could Never Be Without You” and, what else? What else do I like on that record? Well, “Fly High” was good. Now I look back on it those aren’t my favorite songs. And “New Thing” was good.
MM; If you could pick any two songs from your career to replace “New Thing” and “Fly High Michelle” as your most popular songs, what would they be?
DV: I think one of them is “Party Time.” It didn’t make a lot of sense for me solo at this particular time but under those circumstances with those resources and opportunities, “Party Time” would’ve been a smash fucking hit. And besides “Fly High Michelle,” well, yeah, I’ve got a lot of great ballads that I think are comparable to or better than “Fly High Michelle.” But that’s like asking who’s your favorite children. Like saying if you have a son and a daughter and you could replace them, who would you want to replace your kids with. [Laughs]
MM: [Laughs] Yeah, I see your point. One thing I wanted to ask you about was your songs “Mother’s Eyes” and “LA Burning,” which are partly about racism. Because I can’t think of any other bands who came out around the time that you guys did who ever spoke out against racism, much less wrote songs about it. Why was that important for you to do?
DV: Well, I let a song tell me what it wants to be. I follow the song and listen to what the song is telling me. That’s something I don’t know if a lot of other people do but a lot of times the whole thing, the ideology, will come to me with the idea. It really depends on the mode I was in at the time or the mood I was in but I’ve always been really anti-racist and I just think it’s stupid. And I’ve got other songs like that, too. “Has Jesus Closed His Eyes” and things like that. But I listen to them now and I think I sound a little hokey, kind of preaching, but that was on my mind at the time. And “LA Burning” was during the riots.
MM: Those are two of my favorites. And “Mother’s Eyes” was a single, wasn’t it?
DV: Yeah. It was the first single off the Strength record.
MM: I think out of all the handful of singles that you guys put out from the first few albums I think “Mother’s Eyes” is the one that I prefer. That’s the one I’m always hoping you’ll do live.
DV: The chorus is really up there in range. That’s why we never did it much live. I’m glad that you liked it and, of course, it’s a good song but there’s other songs and you’ve only got so much time to do X amount of songs. And when you’re playing all the time, it’s way up there and I try to avoid some of those. When we record a record, I’m not worried about singing it live. I’m just thinking about what’s gonna make that record sound the best. And I’m just singing it in that key. And a lot of times when you’d get to go to play it live, you realize you can’t really do that one. You can’t punch in when you’re playing live. So I’d rather do a different song than do that one half-assed.
MM: One of your songs that I’ve always really identified with is “In Crowd” because I was never popular was often bullied growing up. What was it like for you growing up? Were you popular in high school?
DV: No, absolutely not. I didn’t know anybody and nobody knew me. I went to a Lutheran grade school for the first eight years and I wasn’t in the public schools and then all the kids that were around everywhere already knew each other because they’d been going around for years and I was a really insecure kid. Because my childhood was not great. And there was no encouragement or anything. More so focusing on my shortcomings. My mother just recently told me she was proud of me for the first time. But, no, I wasn’t popular. I knew who people were but I was never friends with them. Now if you see a guy somewhere they act like, you know, I knew you back in the day. But it’s like, no, you didn’t. My sister is 10 years younger than me and when she started high school her brother had a number one MTV video so she was popular. I was not. And I had anxiety. And that’s another thing. When all of a sudden overnight you’re the lead singer for a national act, the anxiety was always so close. A couple of drinks to deal with shit like that. It was ridiculous.
MM: I think one of the things that makes Strength such a remarkable album is all of the strings you have on songs like the title track. When you wrote those songs, did you have things like mandolin in mind or was that more of an afterthought?
DV: Mandolin? I don’t recall any songs with mandolin on them.
MM: Well, maybe not that, but you’ve definitely got some nice string arrangements on some of those songs. I forget which instruments in particular were included in that.
DV: All the strings and horns and orchestration and all of that, yeah, when I’m writing a song I’m hearing all of that. I had an underlying, subconscious education from the stuff I’d listened to growing up. With The Beatles and everything, you get a full education on how to write a song and how to produce a song and all that. And we had Paul Lani, the producer on that, and he was really into all of that so I had a partner in crime when it came to all of that production. That was the only one time that was ever the case. He really got me and he saw everything for what it was and it was all about let’s make the songs the strongest and coolest. So he’d get me strings and Derek’s dad was the greatest and he’d come down and do that for us and bring a cello player.
MM: Would you ever work with Paul Lani again?
DV: Sure, I haven’t seen him or run into him in a million years so I don’t know what he’s doing but I really loved Paul. I really enjoyed what we did together.
MM: I think most of your albums are very well produced but I think the one I like the sound of the best would be Strength. There’s just something magical about that one.
DV: Yeah, it’s a good record. The die-hard fans, they’ll find out what you’re doing, but the masses, it’s out of sight, out of mind.
MM: If you were to put one Enuff Z’Nuff album in a time capsule to be opened in a hundred years, which one would you choose?
DV: My favorite is Dissonance. Most of it. There’s a few songs on it that I don’t dig but I felt like the band kept evolving and evolving and getting better and better and that was the last one and by then I thought it was a really good representation of power pop. I guess I’d put Enuff Z’Nuff’s Greatest Hits in there. That would probably be the smart move. Actually, I would put Beautiful Things in there, my solo record. I think that’s the best thing I’ve ever done by far.
MM: It’s definitely one of them, that’s for sure. What are you working on now?
DV: The live band. Putting together my Patreon thing and playing out. That’s where my head is at. Recording new songs, not only does it take a lot of effort and a lot of emotion, it costs a lot of money to get a good sounding record as well. And it’s just that I’ve made so many what I consider great records and I threw everything I had into them and nothing really changes. So you start losing some inspiration and motivation at that point. And that’s kind of where I’m at. I’m 58 years old now. I’m still writing the best stuff I’ve ever written. You hear it and you go, man, that’s fucking great. But you make something and a handful of people hear it and it takes all that effort. So I’ll record more songs and make more records if there ever comes a time that it makes sense and it’s feasible because I’ve got songs.
MM: Have you been getting inspired to write lately?
DV: No. I’ve got a bunch of new songs. But, no, I haven’t been inspired to write lately. I need something to come along and give me some challenge and make it interesting. Something other than what I’ve been doing all these fucking years, you know? Maybe collaborating with somebody that I really respect and see what we could come up with. Something different.
MM: Yeah. I’d just love to hear some new music from you and I’m sure there are thousands of other people who’d love to as well.
DV: Yeah, I’ve got a few songs that are recorded and I’m gonna put out a best of record, a best of Donnie Vie record for this Australian tour that I’m doing next year and I’m putting a new song on there. And we’ll be re-releasing stuff on vinyl.
MM: I wanted to ask you a couple of questions about the Animals album. I’ve always been very impressed with the song “Innocence” and I think it’s a song that has aged well for sure. And I’ve always been impressed by how you were able to approach that in a way that was very mature but at the same time you captured the vibe of that innocent time in someone’s life. Was it tricky to walk that fine line?
DV: No, like I said, I just listen to what the song tells me it wants to be. I hear all the vowels and syllables in my head. So I could sing it but they’re not words yet. I have to work out the words to put in those spaces. And once I have a general idea of where a song is going then it’s time to write the story. And at that point I’d already written so many that I think my lyrics started getting a lot better. Getting through the Strength record, by Animals, by “Innocence,” I just sat down at the piano with nothing to do and that just came out of me. I wrote the whole damn song in one sitting. And I was inspired by my sisters because I missed so much of their lives.
MM: Had you written other songs before about that subject or was that your first one?
DV: You mean, consoling a little girl about growing up and her life and things like that? I think that’s about the only one.
MM: Another song that really stands out on Animals is “Mary Anne Lost Her Baby,” which is another very mature song, which was interesting because it was looking at the abortion issue and writing about a woman who had an abortion who’s basically been left traumatized by the experience. What inspired you to want to write about that?
DV: Well, when it happened, when I wrote it, I remember exactly where I was. I was taking a shower and Chip poked his head in the bathroom. We had a really good friend named Mary Anne and she was gonna have a baby and she lost it. But she didn’t have an abortion, she just lost it. But I went back to the shower and I was just singing it over and over, “Mary Anne Lost Her Baby,” and then I started thinking more and more because I’d experienced a lot of abortions and also I had dealt with girls and women and it’s not as easy as people think. It might be at the time, but maybe later on in life they’re not able to have kids and things like that and it’s just, you know, it is what it is.
MM: I just thought it was interesting because you didn’t hear very many songs that really looked at it or looked at it that way and you were able to deal with that but at the same time it didn’t sound preachy or anything. It was really well done.
DV: Yeah, well, thank you. I think my lyrics were getting better and better. Up until presently. I think now I’m really figuring it out. I mean, the lyrics could’ve been better for that but you don’t hear a lot of cock rock bands singing about things like that. It’s more like bang your head and fuck all night. But, like I said, I let the songs tell me what they want to be and it’s about real stuff and things I’ve dealt with in my life or I’m concerned about. It’s straight up from the heart.
MM: Another thing that stands out to me with Animals is that there’s kind of like two different directions going on with that album. You’ve got your heaviest songs like “Superstitious,” “Black Rain” and “Master of Pain” then you’ve got the more melodic ones like “These Days” and “Innocence” and “Right By Your Side.” Was that something that was purely your desire to make a record with all those different sides or was there any record company politics involved where they were saying for every heavy song you do you’ve got to do a pop song or anything like that?
DV: No, that was band politics. Because my preference was “One Step Closer To You” and “These Days” and that stuff. “Right By Your Side,” “Innocence.” I mean, it’s fun to rock and I wrote the rock riffs, too, but you’ve got to look at who was in the band. You’ve got to cater to that. There’s other guys that really push for certain songs. And I figured I wrote them all anyway so you’ve gotta keep everybody happy so what difference did it make? But as soon as that record was over and Frigo was gone I really started approaching things more from my vision. Because I never really envisioned a lot of that early Enuff Z’Nuff stuff. It’s fun to rock – it’s great that we did it – I’m not knocking it. But that’s not my personal influences. I didn’t come from that stuff.
MM: You had been putting out some covers, including some Beatles covers as the St. Joe County Dope Whores with a friend of yours and I kind of thought that maybe you were working up to making a Beatles tribute album because I thought you had talked about wanting to do that at some point so I was really shocked when Chip put out that Enuff Z’Nuff Beatles album.
DV: So was I. [Laughs] So was everybody. That was really something. Of course, it would be so much fun to make a Beatles tribute record but I’ve already got so many things. With the St. Joe County Dope Whores, that was something I was doing for fun. With a really good friend of mine. It was no pressure. It was a fun, pump up the volume sort of intensity and things that I thought were cool. But when I put out records, it’s gotta be my songs. That’s what people want to hear. Not the rubble.
MM: When were the songs on Peach Fuzz recorded? I know that was a back catalog album but I never knew what sessions those songs came from aside from the couple that were “Mother’s Eyes” b-sides.
DV: Well, I’d have to see the songs that are on it but they were all things that were out-takes. When you record a record, you’ll start writing better ones as your making the record so some songs will fall out of the bottom as you’re putting more on top. And I’m not saying they’re not any good, but sometimes some fit better than others. There’s a few that didn’t make it to other records and some are demos we had laying around so we had the opportunity to put something out at that period of time and make a little bit of money so instead of a greatest hits thing we thought we’d put that out. We put out that and the 1985 record about the same time.
MM: You’ve put out quite a few of those back catalog albums. At this point, is everything released or are there still enough to release more of those albums?
DV: Well, that Cleopatra deal, I didn’t know that was included in that deal. I didn’t read hard enough in the contract. So that boxed set, I thought that would be a box set of the Enuff Z’Nuff records but it turned out Chip gave them three records worth of our old demos so that cleared out most of those. But the ones that he hasn’t released are the ones that didn’t get tracked yet. There’s a lot of good ones that are still in my head. At a certain point when you write a song, I could tell if a song was good enough or else I would probably stop working on it and say this one is just not there; I’m not hearing it yet. But usually when we make a record you keep writing songs and replace them with a few and then you’ve got those laying around and you can use them for other stuff.
MM: The Tweaked and the Chip & Donnie Brothers albums both came out in Japan first and around the same time. Was it your idea to split that material into two albums and to call one of them Chip and Donnie Brothers or was that a record company thing?
DV: Well, Chip and Donnie Brothers was after the Animals thing went down and all of that bad luck and all of the shit dealing with the politics of that band and Frigo and everything. I basically said that’s it, I’m out, I’m done. And Ricky had just joined the band and he was staying with me for a while and we just started going into this little studio by ourselves and recording and writing. I’d be writing a bunch of stuff and we’d bang it out on an 8 track. But the Chip and Donnie thing, we got a Japanese deal because American deals were not so hot and I just wanted to see if it was possible that we could shed that name and that baggage and call it something else. So that’s when we decided we were gonna take the more organic stuff and call it Chip and Donnie. Later on, we called it Seven because we hadn’t released it in the United States and you could get a little bit further down the line and get an American independent deal and we decided to release it again and just call it Enuff Z’Nuff because the Chip and Donnie thing didn’t work. But, yeah, we put the more organic stuff on one and the heavier stuff on the other.
MM: For some reason, I’ve always liked the sound of the Chip and Donnie Brothers CD better than the sound of the Enuff Z’Nuff Seven CD. Was it remixed or remastered or something before they released it as Seven?
DV: I’m not sure. I know with Japan, they do their own thing. They probably remastered it for the U.S. or something.
MM: Which album do you prefer, Tweaked or Brothers?
DV: Definitely Brothers.
Special thanks to Donnie for taking the time to chat with us again. It’s our hope that Donnie will find the inspiration to write a new album and sooner than later because if there’s one thing we know for sure it’s that the world needs more Donnie Vie records!
Great interview! I really enjoyed that you asked his advice for others who want to get clean. It was also cool to read about his process of creating songs. This interview definitely got me more interested in hearing Donnie Vie’s music. Thanks!