“Welcome to my nightmare; I think you’re going to like it” Q & A with Tommy Henrikson

Katherine Wilson, Guest Writer

T: You must be Carla’s friend. It’s nice to meet you!

K: It’s a pleasure to meet you too!… Most of Alice’s career he’s had two guitar players. How does having three affect the way you play?

T: It actually helps out a lot because when you make records you use multiple tracks of everything; guitars, keyboards, vocals, and it gives the opportunity to play it live more like the record because we have all of the guitar parts. So, with three guitar players; Orianthi, Ryan Roxie, and myself we all get to play different parts. Ori will play that part, Ryan will play that part, and I’ll play this part, and we’re playing the same chords but, we’re playing different versions of those chords.

K: You’ve worked with Warlock, Lou Reed, Meat Loaf, Kesha, Lady Gaga, etc. How do those bands compare with Alice?

T: Warlock-That’s an old one!  Well, with Warlock, I was in that band when I was really young. It was one of those things where I was playing in the club scene in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, and Doro (singer of Warlock) was making her record in New York at the time and they needed a bass player. They came down to a gig and said they wanted me in the band. I went down to the studio and heard the album, went home, and I told my mother who, at the time, was alive, and I said “What do you think I should do?” My mother said “Yeah, do it and get outta here!” and I did. Best thing I ever did.

K: So if you started out a bass player, how did you become a guitar player?

T: When I started doing my solo record in 1997 and couldn’t find a guitar player, I just started. I was playing guitar from writing some songs, then I just started playing all the time. So I was playing bass, guitar, and keyboards.  I was programming, mixing, and engineering, and I was just doing everything myself so I didn’t have to rely on people. That’s the best thing. If you can rely on yourself, that’s all you need, you know?

K: How does being a musician and a producer (mixing and programming) affect each other?

T: I got into music because of the live aspect of it. I absolutely love performing, and singing and playing. And then the studio helped me so much because it makes you a better musician, because it’s when you can really hear everything.  I love performing and being in the studio, so it’s like I’ve got the best of both worlds right now, which is great!

K: Speaking of being in the studio, you’ve been involved with a lot of different groups; Alice Cooper, Warlock, Tuffkut, War and Peace- how do they compare to other people you’ve worked with such as Kesha or Lady Gaga?

T: I love electronic music and pop music. I love working with beats and keyboards. That’s pretty much what I do. As for the rock thing, Alice Cooper was one of those things where I was writing songs with him and Bob Ezrin (Famous music producer!) in the studio and Alice just said to me “You want to be in the band?”, and I was like “I haven’t played rock music since Warlock (1980s)”, and now I was working on pop stuff and electronic stuff with cool beats and I was like “you know what…yeah, I’ll do it!” Because, I figured I might meet someone, and you know what, I did! I met my wife! It turned out really sweet. Also, my older brother would always bring home records. He’d bring home Lou Reed, Pink Floyd, and Alice Cooper. Welcome to My Nightmare was the first record he brought home, and Cold Ethyl, Eighteen, and Welcome to My Nightmare were the first Alice Cooper songs I heard. I loved The Who too.

K: Being on the road can get kind of monotonous and stressful. What do you do when you’re not touring to relive the stress?

T: When I’m off the road, I’m usually working in the studio producing bands. I produce Chuck’s band, Beasto Blanco, who’s the bass player in Alice Cooper. I mixed that, and I produced it. I just did this band, China, in Switzerland, which is a really cool rock thing, and I just did this band from Russia called fugal fish. We’re working on our new Alice Cooper record too; it’s Alice, Johnny Depp, myself and the guys, and Ori. It’s coming out next year. It’s going to be great. It’s called The Hollywood Vamp…well, they’ll probably have to tell you, because, you know, “CANT TALK, TOMMY!” Anyways, that’s all fun.

K: With regard to the atmosphere, and the special aspects of performing, this place is a lot smaller than the other places you’ve played at.  Do you have a preference of the type of place you play in?

T: I love when the people are right there, right in front. Especially tonight; there were a lot of young people at tonight’s show, which I love. The crowd really varies. We’ll have an older crowd mixed in with their kids and grandkids which is the cool thing about Alice Cooper. It’s like this cross generation thing that is happening. As far as playing this place or a big place, I like them all, but the small places are more intimate, I think. This was great tonight.

K: Is there anything you could say that you would want people to know about Tommy Henriksen?

T: You know, I just love music. You know, I love music, I love making music. I’ve been doing it my whole life, and I always tell everyone just do the right thing. I always do the right thing. You wanna know about me, I do the right thing. You know, just be nice to people.  It’s really hard for people to be nice these days, and it really pisses me off. You know, it’s a different world out there. Everybody knows everything, but we don’t know nothin’. Everyone knows everything about everything. You know, like just listen! That’s what I always tell people, “shut up, and just listen, man! Let him talk!” Right?

K: Well thank you very much, I really appreciate it!

T: Ahhh, you’re sweet! You know, anytime!