Backstage Pass Radio

S2: E18 - Johnny Gioeli (Hardline, Axel Rudi Pell, Crush 40) - A Hedgehog With a Heart, Mind, and Soul

June 01, 2022 Backstage Pass Radio Season 2 Episode 18
Backstage Pass Radio
S2: E18 - Johnny Gioeli (Hardline, Axel Rudi Pell, Crush 40) - A Hedgehog With a Heart, Mind, and Soul
Show Notes Transcript

Johnny Gioeli is an American singer, songwriter and composer, known as the vocalist of the hard rock band Crush 40. He is also the original lead singer of the band Hardline (Joey Gioeli, Neal Schon) and a member of German guitarist Axel Rudi Pell's band

In this episode we talk about the tour, bands, life on the road, almost 100 albums to his name, and everything in between.


Johnny Gioeli Mixdown Mixdown 1

Fri, 5/27 7:46PM • 1:02:08


hardline, band, music, tour, crush, absolutely, backstage pass, johnny, people, bro, called, fans, listeners, guitar, record, years, album, song, hear, joey, Brunette, Neal Schon, Journey, Dean Castronovo, Frontiers Records, Oceans of Time, Crush 40, Hardline, Axel Rudi Pell, Sonic, Sonic The Hedgehog, Sega, games, video games, Mental Health Awareness, Backstage Pass Radio, Backstage Pass Radio Podcast, Randy Hulsey, Randy Hulsey Music, Randy Hulsey Podcast, Podcast, Interview, Rock Interview, Best Music Podcast, Best Podcast 2022


Randy Hulsey, Johnny Gioeli, Adam Gordon


Randy Hulsey  00:00

Hey everyone. Thanks so much for Linden and air today it's Randy Hulsey with backstage pass radio dime joined by a powerhouse of a vocalist on the show today. He is a songwriter, a multi instrumentalist, has toured the world and has one of the best and most powerful voices in rock and roll. Don't go anywhere. We're gonna see what's shakin with my pal Johnny Gio le, the lead vocalist of hardline Axel Rudi Pell crush 40. When we return,


Adam Gordon  00:27

this is backstage pass radio, the podcast that's designed for the music junkie with a thirst for musical knowledge. Hi, this is Adam Gordon. And I want to thank you all for joining us today. Make sure you like subscribe and turn the alerts on for this and all upcoming podcasts. And now here's your host of backstage pass radio. Randy Halsey.


Randy Hulsey  00:56

Johnny, what'd you say Brother? Welcome to the show.


Johnny Gioeli  00:58

Hey, man, thanks for having me. That was a hell of an intro brother right there. I feel like I gotta send you money or something.


Randy Hulsey  01:05

Well, yeah, you can. I'll give you that stick around. I'll give you the address. And you can do it. It was it was funny because I did a real cool intro for Michael Sweet not too long ago. And what the listeners don't see is I don't ever air this video portion. Right? It's all just audio. And he showed up. Of course, he had his patch on his eye, right? And he had this Columbia jacket. And he said, Randy, man, what an introduction. And I'm sitting here looking like the one eyed Michelin man in this jacket. You just made me sound like so much better than I really am. So anyway, no, I'm glad you're here. Man. It was kind of a concerted effort with Ali and I we've probably been, we've probably been back and forth for the last three, at least three or four months now. Just kind of stay in touch with one another and it's good to finally see a bee in front of you and get a chance to chat with you, man.


Johnny Gioeli  01:58

Thank you, brother. Yeah, I'm sorry. I'm telling you bro. By poor assistant, I've been busier than a one legged kickboxer. If you can get that visual.


Randy Hulsey  02:07

I got it. I got it.


Johnny Gioeli  02:08

It's been nonstop. I'm literally working on album number 9999 World Wide releases that either I've written or I've participated in. I mean, I just haven't stopped I figured you know what? I'm healthy and enable. I'm gonna keep frickin working man keep making music because this is my life. It's my lifeblood. You know,


Randy Hulsey  02:33

there's an old adage in it, and it's make hay while the sun shines, right. I'm sure you've heard it. And, you know, while we're still taking in oxygen and above ground, gotta keep going, you know, because there's gonna be one day we're not 20 anymore. We don't need to talk about our age but we're not 20 And you know, one day all that's gonna slow down for us. So you got to you got to do it while you you're still moving and still kicking right? Absolutely, brother. Absolutely. It looks like you're at home up in the Northeast right now. But you guys just came off a little mini tour. You just came off the road did you not?


Johnny Gioeli  03:12

Yes. So we so for hardline we obviously like so many bands. We had our 2020 completely packed 2021 completely packed and here we are pushing everything now we're into. Oh my god, I have dates that go into 2024. So yeah, we did a small little like a UK tour. Now we I head out in a couple of weeks. We're gonna hit some shows in Sweden. Linkoping Jonkoping. We're gonna go to where else are we in Netherlands? We're in Belgium. Am I in Switzerland? This this tour I have to check. But yeah, another little short jaunt. As we're trying to make up all these shows from this crazy ass COVID stuff. And then yeah, so we're booked solid into Yeah, for this year solid 23 We've got an Australian tour, which will be a first for hardline into 24 I mean, it's just, it's great. He's gonna


Randy Hulsey  04:13

give you a gray hair, all that work, and it's gonna give you a little gray hair, you know,


Johnny Gioeli  04:17

and I had to buy some stock into that hair dye company. Man.


Randy Hulsey  04:24

Keep them in business a


Johnny Gioeli  04:28

Where where is it a 55 gallon drum, right?


Randy Hulsey  04:32

Yeah, you buy it in bulk. I get it. I get it. I was gonna say Where are the boys located? But it's not all boys in the band. So talk to me a little bit about the band. Where are they at geographically?


Johnny Gioeli  04:43

Sure. Yeah. So the new endeavor revived hard line, which has been together for years now. And of course the Lupe these are all bunch of Italians, and a portaloo Bay. She resides in Florida. So by way of Italy's just moved to Florida Two years ago, Alessandro del Vecchio on on keys I was on drugs in Italy. Mario Madani gone guitar, Italy and Marco de salvia. It sounds like like an Italian dinner plate right there. monka. Salvia is the drummer in, in Italy also. So I'm actually working on my dual citizenship because I'm Italian. I don't speak like these guys do I only know the bad words. But it's it's it's just a just a shit ton of fun when we're all together a bunch of yelling loud Italians.


Randy Hulsey  05:34

I was gonna say, Well, you were probably adopted in by default, even though you're not, you know, from the old country, right, so to speak, you know, dad growing up in New York and Brooklyn, you know, Gol D, you know, right, you got to fit in a little bit.


Johnny Gioeli  05:50

They laugh at me because they asked me what my name is it says Giovanni Giuseppe Batista Bertolino, pericoli. This band, the hardest thing about touring with this band is trying to rest my voice. Because we don't stop talking and laughing. From the second we see each other. It's nonstop. It's just it's a great family and just so blessed to be able to be with all these guys and gals.


Randy Hulsey  06:20

That's so important. Culture is so important in the band, because you're probably spending as much time with the band as you do your family. And if they're not like family. I mean, what do you have? It's a it's not a fun venture, if you're out on the road with people you don't like or you don't get along with. Right. So it sounds like you guys have that. Have that covered. And you're all like brothers and and sisters or sister right? In this case.


Johnny Gioeli  06:47

Yeah. And we've figured that out even with the axel Rudi Pell ban, which we've been, I've been singing for Axl for 20 plus years. You get to know each person so intimately. Like for example, the bass player Folker Forca. crusherrock are wonderful German Forca. I know not to talk to him when he first wakes up until he has a cup of coffee. It's like, you're just


Randy Hulsey  07:13

not ready for you.


Johnny Gioeli  07:15

Just don't say shit. Let's have a couple of sips of coffee or get to learn. Yeah, and that's what Apple does. Excellent coughs first thing in the morning, we let him get through his coughing bouts. And then, you know, we start the day. So yeah, it is these you know, working. People don't understand how hard it is to be in a band. I mean, it's not like you go to work nine in the morning, you work with those people and some of the people you like at your work. Some of the people you don't like you go home, and you can breathe and get through. Not ask man to travel together, sleep


Randy Hulsey  07:51

together, you travel together. It's like you don't get away from it. Yeah, you know, every everybody has this intricacy or this their own personalities, right? And you have to learn to adapt to those personalities. I mean, there you can't say, Well, I just won't talk to that son of a bitch for two weeks, right? Because I don't like him. You You better figure out how to communicate with him, right? Because if you're writing songs and


Johnny Gioeli  08:16

our bus drivers now, we had this English guy on our last tour. This was an actual tour. He goes, I'm not driving a bus mate. I'm driving a bloody ambulance because we got one guy with a CPAP machine. Yes. phim in my bunks to make sure I have nice moist air in the ambulance. Lay like hell


Randy Hulsey  08:38

looks like an ICU unit on the bus.


Johnny Gioeli  08:43

On Wheels, right?


Randy Hulsey  08:45

Well, back in the early, I guess I was gonna say 80s. But back in the early 90s. You were of course, in hard line with your brother Joey at the time. And also another pretty famous guitar from a fairly well known band called Journey. And I'm referring to Neil, Shawn. Tell the listeners how hardline came about? Because I know you had a couple of bands prior to that brunette and whatnot. But how did he who was the brainchild of hardline How did that one come about specifically? Yeah. So


Johnny Gioeli  09:18

I'll start with brunette brunette was probably one of the most popular, we'll call call them call us Hollywood bands. We broke every attendance record ever. We beat like the doors record Van Halen is record for the most sellouts and stuff. But that band never got a record deal. That that frustration led to a breakup and my brother and I said you know let's do like a real hard rock Nelson. Remember the Nelson twins putting out their album and Ricky's boys. Yeah, hard rock version of Nelson. It's just you and me. Joey that was it. Yeah. So we met actually through my sister who was with meal for about eight years they were actually married. I don't know if your listeners realize that but yeah, my sister was married to Neil Sean. And we never asked to have a meals help. We went on our did all our holiday get togethers and stuff like that. But Neil had his life with journey and bad English and we had our life with our stuff from you never looked to help. One Christmas, bro, we were all together and East Coast. We were living on the West Coast time, we all met up. And Joey and I were preparing for this record that we're going to call brothers. And we start playing and I'll never forget, Neil comes flying into the kitchen, because let me see the guitar. I'm like, what man is like, I heard that truck. Try this. Try that. And he's guys, he's just so brilliant. Anyway, make a long story a little bit shorter. He made some amazing changes to some of these songs just brought them to life, his core knowledge is out of control. And so I said to him, Hey, me, are you interested in ever producing? Because we'd had no he didn't want anyone at our band. We were done with bands, there's gonna be my brother and me that is it. hire musicians. And he goes, Well, you know what, man, I'm really busy with the new battings record, we'd be the second bad in this record. But if you want to guys want to, you know, refine these songs, and let me see where I'm at with stuff. We can do it. So trying to condense the story, bro. We went back to LA and I worked day and night he worked. First of all, Neil, Sean is the hardest working guy you've ever met. And when he is working on an album or working on writing, that is all he is doing. I mean, day night, he doesn't stop thinking about working. So he would go to the bedding studios work all day. I'd work at his house in the studio there. He'd come home, and we'd work again into the night into the morning. And that was our routine. And what happened was we became so close like brothers number one. And the music was just so exciting. I mean, double Eclipse is what we were writing. And he loved it so much where he said can we can I join the band? And we said I said No wait, what do you mean he told my sister because I'm freaking Neil Shawn why don't they want me in the band that's we had a different visions anyway. After a little while considering going back and forth, is it okay meal we didn't really want to do a band has nothing to do with with you being in the band is just we didn't want to do a band. different divisions gonna be more of this brother solo thing. Anyway, that brings us to hardline as it was in 1992 for double Eclipse release, and Deen Castronovo, who's the drummer of journey? Was Neil's guy. And he goes, Man, we have to use Dean. He's the best My God and He is frickin incredible. So Dean came aboard. Then we auditioned for bass players, hundreds and hundreds of them top guys. I won't even mention some of the top guys that came out to the LA to the auditions. Couldn't find one. Dean goes I know we're going to connect with this guy, but he's on tour with David Lee Roth now. His name is Todd Jensen. We're like okay, when is he off tour? He's off touring a couple of weeks. He's not having fun out there. And he's interested. We all got together we jammed and it was it over that was the band Todd Jensen he played with Roth he was in Alice Cooper I think for a while he's done all kinds of play Steve Perry and on and on and on. And he's now filling in for journey to it's almost like Journey line. Yeah, right. And Todd Yeah, because listen to guys that we could do a hardline set Yeah, so that was the birth of hardline in the release double Eclipse which is still held today blows me away as a very classic popular classic rock record. Just great album wrong time. But well, I


Randy Hulsey  13:52

was gonna I was gonna I was gonna say that after the brunette thing and not getting a record deal. You must have had a really bad taste in your mouth to tell Neil Shawn No to be in in the band. Because most people that are gonna listen to this podcast Johnny are gonna say Are you a fucking idiot for tele news? No, and I'm sure this is not the first time you've ever heard this right. So but but I have to say you know you you are holding true to what you and your brother You know, you formed a pact and you are going to stick with that pact. Right?


Johnny Gioeli  14:27

Yeah, bros and you know, I've been playing professionally since I'm 11 years old, literally. I don't remember a lot of Fridays and Mondays in school because I was out playing the circuit, you know, up and down the East Coast and then west coast. It was nonstop and we all lived in a beautiful tour bus and a campground crew and band members day in day out. Rehearsing playing we never sat you know, and so I was beat. I was tired. We got any start. So I mean when we when doubly clips happened. It Like I took a huge breath and said, Okay, now is the new beginning. Forget our past all that hard work coming up all that disappointment all that being ripped off all the sleeping in cars. You know, we were so poor bro that we would treat for us was like when we could buy some fresh nectarines and we'd label them. Wow, you ate my nectarine. You you have some hell to pay bro, you probably would have a nice shiner wallop yet, because we were that frickin broke,


Randy Hulsey  15:32

isn't it? Isn't it? Isn't it funny? How will you know we? We talked a little bit before we hit the record button. And I won't mention the materialistic things that you talked about that you had to sell when you moved out to the to the east coast. But isn't isn't it an interesting story when you look back and kind of retrospect of where you were, where you were at? And where you got to be? Right. I mean, it's like, night and day difference, right? Some people are never that blessed. You know what I mean?


Johnny Gioeli  16:01

Right? Yeah, exactly. Correct, man. And, you know, I'm probably most one of the most grateful guys ever. I mean, we work hard and that's all I thought about was music. You know, my friends are, you know, on the basketball team and the baseball team in this. I was in my basement writing songs. Here's a funny story, man for the listeners. You know, I grew up in a Amish area of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. So I don't know if we have any Lancaster Pennsylvania listeners. But I'll never forget the high school principal telling me hey, man, you know, I know what you have a lot of absences. Yeah, obviously. And we know that you're in the music business. And you don't have to lie to us. Because how many excuses Can you have a sore throat or a stomach ache? Or a fever? Right. Yeah. So So is this just tell us if you're doing something, just tell us I said okay, no problem. I appreciate that. Paul Stanley from Kiss called my house. And he heard some music that I was working on and wanted to hear more tunes. So I said, Mom, that's freaking Paul Stanley from Kiss. I'm staying home this week and I'm working in the studio and she said okay, so my parents were the most supportive while still are. My father's passed on. My mother is still alive and still so supportive. And said, Okay, stay home. So I worked I worked at work that work sent off the music nothing ever really came of it. But when it was time to go back to school, Randy my mom said, Johnny What do you want to write on the excuse your sore throat ear infection you know what ailment when I said my tell the truth they want the truth tell the truth. So my mom my orthodox Catholic Italian mother writes, Dear Mr. I want to tell you his name. Johnny a Paul Stanley from the rock group kiss the house and right


Randy Hulsey  18:02

now they really don't believe you right.


Johnny Gioeli  18:06

Row when I got to school Olson, I hear Johnny G Raleigh's to the principal's office. They flipped the fuck out on me. Like, not happy. They're like, this is bullshit. You need your education. Of course. Of course. Everyone needs a good solid education. This is a phase you're going through. I mean, I had a rough time, bro in school rough. They didn't get it. They didn't. Wow. So the reason I was so broken after brunette was from that time period as a kid, having that laser focus on nothing, but I am going to accomplish that or that's where I was at.


Randy Hulsey  18:48

Yeah. Well, a couple of things came to mind as you were telling your story there for the listeners. One of them is, you know, back when when we were that age, right, I was mentioning that we're pretty close to the same age. A lot of parents weren't supportive. You know, they were old school thinkers about their kid being out of school and doing the things that you were doing. It was like, Get your ass in school, you know, get your education, you know, so if you had one of those parents that actually supported that, that those were called the cool parents back in the day. And the other thing I thought of which I'm sure you grew up when you were telling me about the excuses for school, I don't know if you ever watched Welcome Back, Kotter in the day. Oh, one one, Epstein had to have a note for. He had a note for everything. And it made me think of, maybe Thank you, and that was probably the setting of that show was probably right in your old neighborhood. And close to Bensonhurst. Brooklyn, right. That was all set. Right? So exactly. That's it. Yep.


Johnny Gioeli  19:47

Absolutely. Well, yeah, it was it was just absolutely wild. So here's a great story. So my parents, the ultimate parents were holes in their shoes so that we could have guitar As in strings and effect units, we beat this pedal is wah wah pedal thing. I mean sacrifice, but they recognize that we had talent, and that we were serious about it. It wasn't just like a play fun thing. We were serious. And my dad at all our shows he would have this loud scream, I can't replicate it right? And we used to joke around. We'd say, Dad, someday when we're playing in arena, we're going to hear that sound. And bro, my first show as an international artist was with was hardline supporting Van Halen in Detroit, the palace of Auburn Hills, probably 50,000 cedar. And I'll be damned. I heard my dad's. And I get choked up every time I even tell you that. I tell


Randy Hulsey  20:55

that story. Yeah, it's incredible. I can't imagine.


Johnny Gioeli  20:58

They're, they're standing on their chairs out front. I was like, Mom and Dad, you could be with the sound engineer you do with the lighting people know. We're gonna stand on our chairs, just like the people. So


Randy Hulsey  21:08

cool. That is so cool. And it's cool how you can correlate a sound with a person you know, you know, the whoo hoo from your dad, and you know it from 500 miles away. And I had I played with a young female artist years ago, and I had this whistle that I would do for her kind of like a like a, like a bird whistle, right? And it didn't matter where we weren't if I needed her, or it was time to do something. And I blew that little. You know, that little chirp into the microphone. She was looking around to find out where I was going. She associated that sound with with me kind of like the whoo hoo. From your right. Totally like that. But where's your brother? At these days? And what is Joey up to?


Johnny Gioeli  21:55

Yeah, so Joey's. It's a little bit of a backstory in 1995. We were reading Ron a tour bus. And we were reading about this thing called the information superhighway. And if you remember all the commercial information superhighway for the list for the very young listeners, was this the internet. And then we discovered and actually invented so we get well. So as we're touring, you know, we're credit card, guys, because we're just you know, going from town to town, state to state country to country. And we recognize that this internet thing, wouldn't accept credit cards, if we wanted to buy something and these things called websites. I mean, we're going back to the the baby stage stage of the internet. And so at that time period, we recognize that problem, and Joey and I took our hard earned cash and we invested in some young guys to build us what is today now the most secure servers and transactions over the internet. So when you buy something, that transaction that happens in a couple of seconds? Ooh, thanks for your order, checking your bank to make sure you have the money. Well, we invented that. Okay, now we didn't know what the hell we invented. We just knew it was cool shit. And we built a very nice business you know, making you know handling credit card transactions for companies and in one year so we came off the road in one year we went from an eight by eight office to a million square feet and at moments smile throughout the year 300 employees that was insane, man talk about Yeah, I mean, just you know, from the success of music, right? It's a business which Joey and I ran the business of the band, which it is man I mean, you've got to watch every penny we used to have we used to have I won't mention a name but one of the Guns and Roses guys call a saying hey look, we're we're losing X amount of money in merchandise per day. We don't know where it's going we don't quit and Joey I'd be like, check here check this check that you know, because it's accountants and business owners and that's not the other day Yeah. But anyway, so Joey, continue to run that business. We scaled it down and he lives in California and he loves business and I'm you know, he still plays and stuff and you know, maybe someday we'll do a hard line reunion we talk about sure and it's likely that it will happen at some point


Randy Hulsey  24:27

that's cool. Yeah, we could amazing Yeah, and we could definitely go down a rabbit hole with the whole information technology thing that's what I do for a living it's what I've done all my life I'm a side musician a side podcaster but it engineer and then moved over to the sell side 15 years ago but I work for a consulting firm here in the in the Cypress Texas area. But yeah, that's how I paid the mortgage forever. So I'm you know, that's a great field to be in and it sounds like you guys did a good thing with it back in the in the infancy stages of the enterprise at exactly.


Johnny Gioeli  25:04

He just he stayed with it and still in business today handling clients and doing what he does over there. So well, it's


Randy Hulsey  25:13

great that you guys had enough business acumen to even figure that out. Because and I'm not saying musicians are dumb people because they're not. But a lot of them just, they're their music only and they don't think outside the box, you know, it's kind of okay, I'm thinking it's, I mean, they're creative with the music, don't get me wrong. But sometimes either that's not enough, you got to do a little more, or you got to say, I'm not going to be able to tour the world until I'm, you know, 80 years old. Well, the Rolling Stones kind of throw through that kind of mindset out the window, but you get what I'm saying. I mean, that's, that's not the norm, right? That's, I mean, I'm not, I'm in my mid 50s, and felt like I'm falling apart, you know, half the time. So there's no way that I could do what those guys do. So kudos to them. And kudos to you guys for you know, like I said, spinning up something on the side that was going to be profitable. And and


Johnny Gioeli  26:09

we wasn't totally wasn't planned, we just, you know, what we didn't know didn't scare us, you know, where, you know, a lot of guys go through the whole college process. And you know, I mean, we, we literally went through so many NBA guys and PhD guys, because they couldn't think outside the box. We're like, Hey, man, we just want to do this. You can't do that. Yes, we can. Sure we're going to do it this way. Anyway, he was an interesting period in our in our life, completely opposite of music. I didn't even think about music at that, at that point. And then there was a bad accident in one of my distribution centers from an wasn't one of my employees. It was like, what we call it a flex employee, something that came in kind of standby. And there was an accident that hurt a person and that's when I was done. I'm like, No, we're, I'm done. And so basically, my brother took the company and and it was at that point when frontiers was starting. And Sarah fino pedagogy No, other Irishman on St. Patty's Day, yeah, contacted me and said, we want to do a hard line record. And I said, No, no, thank you. He said, No, no, we want to do a hard line recommend that the world needs to hear your voice. I said, Nah, I'm good. Thank you. And he kept adding money and go no, it's not the money I had. It's not it's not a money thing. You know, I'll give you this much. No, no, I don't I don't, it's fine. I just don't want to do it. A couple of weeks later, come on, Johnny, do it. I'll give you this much. I'm like no, it's not the damn money has nothing to do with the money. I'm not mentally ready to do it. So it went on we went back and forth for months and months. And finally I said Okay, let's go ahead and be in the right headspace to start again. And then since that moment, I'm grateful Serafina and frontiers and since then, it's been gangbusters winner with that can as I mentioned before we hit the record button. I'm working on album number 99 To use the will hit 100 albums before the year is up and worldwide for everything that I've done with crush 40 hardline Axel, side projects. You know it's incredible. I don't have enough walls in the house literally, to mount every records in pile


Randy Hulsey  28:31

and I want to touch on that here shortly but kind of fast forward and from hard lines. I think it was somewhere around 9098 9798 ish I believe you replaced was it Jeff Scott Soto and the band Axel Rudi Pell and Jeff for the listeners that are not familiar with Jeff Scott Soto. He went on I think and sang with Yngwie Malmsteen and did some stuff with Trans Siberian Orchestra and probably other things that I don't even know about. But I know that Axl found you but prior to this Were you already aware of him and the band Axel Rudi Pell or was this like a new thing for you?


Johnny Gioeli  29:16

Yeah, completely new I had no idea that this guy was so big. And I didn't know all I was you know, he sent me some music he was I'm a huge hardline fan. I'm a huge fan of your voice. I really want to have you want to record and Jeff Scott Soto was the singer. So I knew Jeff from from inveigh and I said all right, well send me a tune. Let me hear you know what this is all about. And for me it was just God started out I mean, it was just feel as easy is old school metal wood, which is what I grew up with, you know, Rainbow Sabbath. You know, Ronnie James Dio type vibe. For me. It was like wow, I sang this shit when I was like 11 Yes. still popular in Europe. And it's huge. Part of the reason that Absol we have cancelled our first leg of a tour is because every single show is freaking sold out to the rafters. And so weak with the COVID restrictions, we can't, we can't have everyone out. So we're not gonna unless we can have everyone. No one's going to be left out. So yeah, and here we are. I said, Okay, you know what, I'll try a record and see. And we released the first album, which was oceans of time, which became a big hit song. And here I am. 20 I don't know shit. 22 years and maybe with our ballad albums in the snatch Oh, close to 30 albums right there alone. It's unbelievable, man.


Randy Hulsey  30:43

Wow, well, like, kinda like you and Axel, Rudi Pell. You not really knowing much about him before, you know getting the call and joining him. To be honest, the first time that I ever stumbled across you was on YouTube. And I I tell this joke is kind of tongue in cheek. But I've always said that I turned off the radio somewhere around 1989 And I just stopped listening to the radio for a long time. So anything that came like post Hair Metal and pre grunge like I didn't fucking know what was going on. So I didn't know if hardline until I saw you sing in a song called masquerade ball on YouTube. Right? That's it dude. And I have to tell you what. Yeah, what a badass song. I loved it. I'm like, Who is this fucking guy who's the band like I this is in my wheelhouse. This is the shit that I really, really like. So I started listening to more and more of it. And then fast forward however, a couple of years and here we are sitting and talking about those things. So good stuff. Good stuff. The Axel Rudi Pell stuff is really good. Now, you are Yeah, I was asking you before if you were active with Axel Rudi Pell and crushed 40 Still, because you seem like you have so many irons in the fire. I didn't know how one person could possibly keep up with all of the endeavors that you have going on. So Are


Johnny Gioeli  32:14

ya active? With all those bands? I am so lucky. You know, back in the day back in the late 80s. If you were in more than one project, we were like a band jumper.


Randy Hulsey  32:24

Yeah, exactly. You aren't loyal to anybody. Right? Yeah.


Johnny Gioeli  32:29

I have some. And that's because of the great fans around the world. I've somehow integrated all the fans into all three projects Hardline, Axel, Rudi Pell and crush 40, which is my gaming music that we can we can talk about it's all sort of cross pollinated. I don't know how well the fans did it. I didn't do any Sure. anyone you know who is a fan of you know, my voice is a fan of all those bands. Absolutely. So amazing that support it, it blows me away. How all of that is still going and and strong. I mean, we have the new actual albums coming out hardline just released recently heart, mind and soul which is awesome album. It's one of my favorite hardline albums. Next to double Eclipse, and my gaming music stuff. These are the most loyal, amazing kids and adults around the world. I mean, I laugh because you know, sometimes I go on these websites, you know, and I'm searching out some new designs and things like that. And you all use certain apps and I'll reach out to people. And you know, I'll meet someone in Pakistan and like, Hi, this is Johnny, you know, gol E from Crutchfield. Oh my god. And like, wait a minute, I'm talking to you. And you're in Sri Lanka, yeah. How to help, you know. And so it's just it, bro. It blows me away. You know, the musical universe? Well blow me away.


Randy Hulsey  34:04

And you know what, you know, what you can attribute a lot of that to is the information superhighway. Because if you think back, when when we were teenagers go into concerts, you couldn't even bring a recorder, a camera, they didn't want any of that shit in the arenas, right? They didn't want it. And now it's like, if you don't bring those things, there's something wrong with you. Right? So it's everything is 180 degrees from what it was when we were teenagers. And the exposure. I mean, look at the arnelle pinatas like who would that guy be without the internet like and he's a wonderful singer. But he was discovered because of YouTube. Right? I mean, he's the success story. He is the success story. So


Johnny Gioeli  34:49

1,000,000% The other thing I love about it is cameras always rolling cameras always rolling so be Ready to perform? Yeah, you know, and it's, you know, in some ways, you know, being able to bring these cameras in and video in, in some ways it's really keeps everything honest and cool. Yeah, I like it, you know, look, as a singer. Look, I'm not perfect. I have nights where I'm exhausted. I don't sound as good as I should. And


Randy Hulsey  35:24

that's the way it is. Sure, sure. I


Johnny Gioeli  35:26

love how the you know, socially speaking and on the internet, how it keeps everything real and honest. Well, yeah,


Randy Hulsey  35:33

I don't think that you can, you can give all the glory to the internet because I you know, you have to give some, you know, glory to yourself. Because you've been open minded enough to not only take on three different projects, but the interesting thing about those three projects is they're all a little different. Like they're not all the same. You know, you got crushed 40 is kind of commercial pop you you had hard line, it's kind of straight rock. And then you had a little bit more metal edge kind of with with Axel Rudi Pell. So, even though they're kind of all rock, it's it's little variations of rock. It's not all the same, right? It all has its own life and its own taste. So


Johnny Gioeli  36:14

don't want to ask me that question. Like, how do you integrate, you know, going back and forth? I go. I don't know. To me, it's just, uh, you just, I changed the hat. Absolutely change the underwear. Yeah. And, and I just, I don't know, just having a natural. I love all those styles. And it it just works.


Randy Hulsey  36:35

It's the same. It's the same way an actor acts like how can you how can you act like this in one movie and act like that in another movie. It's, it's, it's an art and you become good at your art. You become good at your craft. And guys like you that can span different bands, and they're all different, but still pull it off. I mean, you've, you've honed your craft, and well, you've done your


Johnny Gioeli  36:58

your homework. A thank you so much for saying that. Man. I can, I can always say this. I try really hard. I take it seriously, man. I so appreciate every single person out there that supports my music. We're a live show. And I never have a night bro where I go. I don't feel like going out there like, God, I'm tired. What I do is I say every person paid for this experience. Every person is there because they need to release an escape from whatever their their day was, whether it was work, stress, relationship, stress, whatever. They want to immerse themselves, and marinade and soak in the music. And so I go out there. And I mean, there's you can see, there's some video of me whacking literally, the water is pouring out of my shirt like you I can ring it where it's a stream of water. And I tried to give the people what they deserve. For all the years they've given me with support by this. I mean, here I am. I'm 54 years old. I'm still making a ton of albums. I'm still touring. I'm around the world. I travel, I get to meet great people. It's an amazing life that I am every second grateful for every second.


Randy Hulsey  38:26

And you know, what you said is a beautiful thing. Because you say and you know, some days you get out of bed and you just don't feel worth a shit. And you don't want to do things but you never let anybody else know that and kudos to you for doing that.


Johnny Gioeli  38:38

You know, for me, for me, bro. It's not an act. For me. It's I'm really grateful. Sure, some guys they got it, you know, they can fake their way through it. For me, I truly love every single person I come in contact with that supports music and needs music in their life. Because it's a special thing. I feel like you know, this is this is a gift that I have to use. And it makes people happy. And it's taking care of me. Absolutely. Yeah. I'm a huge hockey fan. My son played hockey for most of his life. Most of his 18 years of life and and we watched a lot of hockey games where Yep, where they go back to the locker and they missed the the bump. And I'm like this


Randy Hulsey  39:23

this hard. Bump means everything. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And to see that just pisses me right off. I will tell you this is


Johnny Gioeli  39:33

when we me too when SCA took the time to talk to my son. And who's who you know, we were huge New York Ranger fans when SCA took time to talk to my son. That was unforgettable. Absolutely. Then tattooed in his you know, brain Good, good memory absolutely forever. And so to be able to to be able to do that, you know, to have an effect whether you music does or your persona does have, you know, good positive effect for someone come on. Yeah.


Randy Hulsey  40:06

And what a great guy mess was mess was a great guy like he was an ambassador of the sport, you know, and, you know, and Gretzky always spoke the world of mess. You know, they were they were, you know, teammates with the Rangers. I mean, we yeah, we could go down a whole path there, but that's a whole nother absolutely, yeah, we'll catch up another time. But listen, you had some great success with crush 40 You know, we were talking about them. And for the listeners who are not gamers and I'm not a gamer. Tell us about the band. And you know what successful brand you guys work with and represent, right?


Johnny Gioeli  40:45

This is a crazy story, bro. So crush 40s Just Jun Sanofi who's who's a Japanese musician who works for Sega directly and make we are crushed 40 and back. C 1998. He contacted Doug Aldrich, Whitesnake and dead daisies now. reached out to me, Doug, you called me and said, Hey, this Japanese guy would like to talk to you about doing some work for Sega and I didn't know what the hell I'm not a gamer. I had the last game I played was like Pong or frog or something.


Randy Hulsey  41:23

Oh, you should have never said that man. Now you're really nice to yourself. Yeah, I get it.


Johnny Gioeli  41:30

We can jump on the logs with these frauds. Anyway, so. So Jason, we reached out to me again, big hardline fan. I mean, Heartland really catapulted a lot of the side work and stuff that I do with other artists. And he introduced me to this whole gaming world. I didn't understand it and get it all I knew that I was presented with. To me it was like a movie. You know, you give me a storyline you show me some storyboards. And I'm gonna put music to the scene. And the very first major game that I did was just massive, massive Hits Songs like live and learn. I am I'm all with me. These became iconic in gaming. And to this day, bro, I've never played any one of those games. I just, I have no idea that I mean, I know who the characters are. But I'm you're intimately close to how they function and all that stuff. But this community is unlike anything I've ever seen in rock and roll. It is a massive there loyalist, like a Grateful Dead.


Randy Hulsey  42:43

Calling a cold kind of thing. Yeah.


Johnny Gioeli  42:46

The most dedicated incredible fans I've ever witnessed in my musical career for sure. I went to Germany and I said, Hey, June, this should be a band because this is very similar to how we have a soundtrack album with the movie, we should have a soundtrack album basically in the game. And that's how crush 40 was born. And crush 40 is still hugely successful. We just did a 30/30 anniversary for the character Sonic the Hedgehog. And with full orchestration, and it's there's millions and millions and millions of views. We just, I just released a fun song called crushing in your 30s It's like a It's a 30 year old Sonic character who's now sitting with the remote control in front of the TV. Now he's kind of like an old Sonic now. And they're 789 million views and just unbelievable.


Randy Hulsey  43:44

Isn't that isn't it interesting, though? How, you know, video games were huge back when we were growing up into you into you. And I guess some of the old school games are will always live on some of the greatest games but the the success the Sonic the Hedgehog is had like 30 years later and people are still enamored and just into that kind of thing is is, you know, it's incredible. Like I don't get it, like


Johnny Gioeli  44:14

blows my mind. Yeah, I don't get it either. I mean, I do get it. You know, they're they're just the most loyal. There's more to it than just music. You know, it's like a combo deal.


Randy Hulsey  44:28



Johnny Gioeli  44:29

They're fans of the game. They're fans of the music. It all works together. It's just been one of the highlights of my career. Not only these fans. I mean, I went to so absolutely pal we did a show, one of our first shows in Russia. Not a great subject right now with what's going on. But I will tell you, the Russian people are incredible rock fans, half the audience for that show years ago. We're going back now I think, you know, just pre COVID is So 2019 1819 half the audience was crushed 40 fans. Yeah, I'm like, wait a minute. It was at that point, I realized, Wait, what's going on here? Crush 40 fans, half of the audience is unbelievable. So they're, they're dedicated. And like I was talking about the cross pollination. They just support everything you do and everything I do, and I'm just so blessed man to have all these guys


Randy Hulsey  45:29

can't beat that with a stick. I mean, it's sometimes you can't question why, why it's so successful, you just kind of ride the way while you can. But, you know, trying to come out a little bit of a, you know, a pandemic that has tied the world up for multiple years now. Outside of the music, what what else? Are you dabbling in? Are there? You know, you talked about the the business and you know, information technology kind of thing. Are there side businesses you have going on? Are there? I know you were in the restaurant business for a while, I don't know if you're still into that, but what you have any side hustles going on outside of the, the, the music scene that you would like to talk about or care share?


Johnny Gioeli  46:15

Sure, man, sure. So obviously, COVID was disastrous for for so many people, for me. Same thing, because I couldn't, you know, perform for people. But what it did do for me, and there's always a little bit of light, you know, in tragedy, just you just have to find it. Absolutely. And for me, the light was that I was able to be home with my family for two consecutive years, which I haven't done. And I can't tell you how long I've missed. Most major holidays, I've missed birthdays, where I would have to Skype with my family for my son for his birthday. You I mean, and so my latest side project was his family, just being home and waking up religiously early to feed my dogs. And and you know, and being there when everyone comes downstairs,


Randy Hulsey  47:18

which most people take for granted, right? Because they're always home, like so you see it in a different light, because you didn't have those same luxuries for many years of your life, not by choice, but it's just the line of work that you are in that dictated that you're on the road. So the things we take for granted, waking up next to your wife or your significant other and kissing your kids putting them on the school bus. You didn't get to do a lot of those things.


Johnny Gioeli  47:46

It's true. And this is really bizarre man, I used to say it to my now wife. I used to say, in times of frustration, touring and new cars, sometimes were three and four countries in one day. I wouldn't know where the hell am I going home? Am I not? No, we're going to fly. We're going to do an MTV baseball game, then we're going to jump on a plane, we're going to go here and go. I didn't know where the hell I was going. And we literally would write down what city so you wouldn't forget. Yeah, we were to I wouldn't. Because I wouldn't know where the hell I was. And I would sometimes in my frustration, say to my wife, I just want to punch a clock at nine and come home at five. And he said what? You know, you're, you are not given that it's not


Randy Hulsey  48:36

in your DNA anyway, right. I mean, you wouldn't. It would drive guys like you crazy to have to do something like that.


Johnny Gioeli  48:41

No, I'd last probably about three minutes before someone tells me that I had to do something she was telling me I gotta do. Right. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Unemployment line.


Randy Hulsey  48:52

Exactly. Shifting gears just a little bit. How is the voice these days? You know, we're, again, I talked about it earlier. We're not all the I'm not saying that. But we're not in our 20s anymore, either. Is the voice getting stronger? Are you losing range? Talk to me a little bit about the voice and how it's holding up.


Johnny Gioeli  49:12

Bro, that's such a great question. And the short answer is, I feel mentally, physically and vocally. 20 years old. Awesome. Well, Oh, wow. I mean, everything is there. I I always tell the fans listen. You tell me when I don't sound like me. And that's when I will stop. Because I'm not going to be one of those guys. It looks things happen. When we age things change. Vocally it can change but for me right now everything is this as if I was literally 20 years old. I've always maintained a real I'm an oxymoron rocker guy. I never really partied. I was just so serious about the music now. So I mean, I'm running every day. I'm one of these nuts. Right? And so I think it's contributed to the health of the voice. I don't know I've never smoked. I don't really drink maybe an occasional drink here and there. And maybe that's done it for me. Or maybe it's that the people's support keeps me mentally focused and healthy. I don't know what it is. But for right now, I haven't lost any range. If anything, I've gained some and the power is there everything but I'm not going to knock on wood. Sure. And until something changes, I I'm going to keep going here, when we say that when the fans have to tell me Hey, John, you know what, man, he just doesn't quite sound the same anymore. That's when I'm gonna go fishing guys.


Randy Hulsey  50:47

Absolutely. Well, I think that the lifestyle, you know, you talk about the oxymoronic lifestyle. It's not. When we talk about musicians and rock and roll stars and all of this, we don't think of wholesome guys, right? We think of guys that are out doing all the things that debauchery that we shouldn't be doing. Right. And I think that because of that lifestyle, that's probably added longevity to what you're able to do and give back to the fans, right? I mean, the voice is held up, the body's held up, because you weren't going out doing all the dumb things that a lot of people do.


Johnny Gioeli  51:23

Yeah, I mean, I think so. Bro. I mean, I don't know that for fact, but I for me, it's, you know, for me, I believe it helped. You know, I believe it's, it's why I can I can sustain this. So, yeah, I mean, I bring the running shoes on tour. Everyone laughs at me. They're like, Dude, you gotta show tonight. Yep, I know. I'm gonna go for a run. See you later. And just I just care about being as healthy as I possibly possibly can be. For myself, for my family for the fans. And yeah, I mean, I like cake and cookies. Trust me, bro.


Randy Hulsey  52:02

Well, I was gonna say I run every day to I mean, I wake up and I run down to the kitchen and get something to eat. You know? You gotta. You gotta maintain this body somehow, right? Hey, hi. What's worked for cookies? Yeah, well, what's coming up music wise, I know, you get like I said, I asked you earlier. And you mentioned, you alluded a little bit about going out on tour to some different places. Other than the tours, new recordings coming out. What can you speak about anything going on with crush? 40, Axel Rudi Pell from a recording perspective, Hardline? What's going on there?


Johnny Gioeli  52:39

Yeah, exactly. So yes. So versus the versus the hardline tour? Because we're gonna we're gonna finish up strong with heart, mind and soul for 2022. And it's 23, then we'll most likely record another album and go from there. Absolutely. As a brand new album that we just recorded that will release this one's releasing soon. How about that


Randy Hulsey  53:04

this year? Okay, good.


Johnny Gioeli  53:05

Yeah. And followed up by the tour, which, you know, unfortunately, keeps canceling because it's just massively sold out. Thank God. But so we keep pushing the tour back. So that's going to be happening. So the new album and the tour crush 40. You know, since we did the 30th, anniversary orchestration, we're working on taking that around the world into theaters in major cities, because we want the kids and, and the adults and everyone who's any gamer, gamers of all ages to, to witness, the visual and the full orchestration and all those classic epic songs live. So we're working on that. And I have some other things in the wings that I'm working on in the gaming industry, that I'll release some information soon on that. And I do I do a lot of work with other musicians. And that really happens since COVID. people reaching out Hey, John, do you want to do do a duet on this song, do a duet and I mean, I get 50 to 100 of those offers a week. And I work on the ones that I feel that I can bring value to I don't just, you know, like, you know. Yeah, yeah, you know, so that's really cool. And no, I gave up the restaurant business. I gave up all the fancy shmancy I'm gonna be honest with you, man. I had a lot of rock and roll stuff. airplanes, helicopters, yachts, cars, all the shit that doesn't matter. Yeah. It didn't make me feel you know any different as a person to have that stuff and I don't feel any different that I sold all that stuff. As matter of fact, I think simple living is just works for me man because I absolutely can appreciate more. The two rules. You know, listening for me is a tool. I agree. I've got a brand new charity out right now for mental health awareness where I'm giving away a a $5,000 somnium guitar. This is the most amazing guitar where you can interchange pickups. And the your, your your player Bronto. If you seen this guitar, do you want humbuckers? Boom, pop them in the back.


Randy Hulsey  55:22

You want other like magnetized magnetized? They stick in by magnets or what?


Johnny Gioeli  55:27

No, it actually locks into the back of the guitar. Well, actually, you'll have to, you'll have to Google this when we get off somnium guitars. And I'm giving away a $5,000 brand new somnium guitar for a donation of $1. That's it $1 I will ship this guitar anywhere in the world. The system will I'll have to shoot you a link later and maybe you can put it up for me. Yeah, absolutely. So I'm really into charity work, I raise money for food banks a raise money, you know, my quest this year is mental health awareness. Because you know, we're all doing a great one shit ton of stress. We all have it. But it's really escalated in the in the past years and even pre pandemic escalate and I'm finding people are not treating it, you know, and this shits like a cold man. If you don't feel good mentally, you're depressed you know, you can't get out of your own way. You need to go get help. It's no different than a damn cold that we shouldn't be ashamed about or worried about at all. I don't have this issue. But I recognize that people do absolutely help. I want to help bring people to happiness. So that's been my quest for 2022 No businesses, no restaurants. I don't I've done with all that. Yeah,


Randy Hulsey  56:44

I hear you. So


Johnny Gioeli  56:45

yeah, so that's where I'm at I'm just I'm focusing on music. And getting back on the stage I literally their last small job that we did in the UK I literally kissed the stage literally did that's how grateful I was to be back on it to see people happy yeah, you know in the audience so it's just all music for me until until I can't do it.


Randy Hulsey  57:11

Where can the listeners find you on social media in order to buy music, buy merch whatever it is that that you have going on with your bands? Where can they find you?


Johnny Gioeli  57:24

Sure, so hardline That brings the hard line stuff from there I mean, I am socially connected Facebook Johnny gol e Facebook hardline Facebook, I think the best thing to do is to Google Johnny gol in and everything comes up and then you can go from there. But yeah, all the Instagram all the social pages, you know, we try to post as much as we can about you know, charities and shows and you know what I'm working on and you know, supporting other musicians etc etc. So yeah, I'm I'm I'm they're


Randy Hulsey  58:02

also definitely there. We had talked about earlier, some quickfire questions, but I want to be respectful of your time. But there is one question of those quickfire questions that I did want you to answer. And it's, in your own words, define success.


Johnny Gioeli  58:17

Sure. Success to me is altering someone's life by music. For me, you know, an artist, like a painter paints a picture on a blank canvas, right? So we paint it, because we want to paint something that we see right? Yes. Then we take that Canvas and we put it out there to be for other people to hopefully see the vision and to be affected by it. That's been my whole career man. To have an impact on someone's life and a great way to make them feel great that reaction that life altering feeling, whether it's something simple, or whether it's like hey, man, that song talked me off the edge. Yeah, that's That's success, bro. It has nothing to do with the money I love. I could care less about the money. When someone comes up to me and says Johnny, oh my god, that song, you know, back in crush 40 You know, highlight days. When I heard that song I was I was considering hurting myself. And that song brought me out of the darkness. Bro, could you ask for anything better as an artist? No, no, never. So for me, it's it's that reaction?


Randy Hulsey  59:36

That's the answer that I expected from you. And I've asked that of multiple musicians and I and money has never been the answer. Not one time not anything material. And that's why I ask it because it's such a nice thing to hear. A human these days say that it's not greed and it's not money. It's It's about love. And you know, the world has changed so much in the last 30 or 40 years. And just to hear that answer is very appealing, and I have to think it's appealing to the listeners too. So thanks for answering that.


Johnny Gioeli  1:00:13

Who are broken? I don't know. I don't look for likes. I don't look for the hearts on the websites and social media, how many clicks, how many likes how many? Whoever comes to those sites. They're coming there for the music and I'm not looking to build a gazillion subscribers. I don't care. I just want to make use my my gift and to make people happy, man.


Randy Hulsey  1:00:41

I agree with you. 100%. Johnny, it's, you know, it's been a absolute treat for me to chat with you. Thanks so much for spending the time with me and the listeners today. I asked the listeners to like, share and subscribe to the podcast. Also don't forget to follow Johnny and everything that he has going on on social media. Just guess Google, Johnny g o le is probably the best way to find him. I want to thank you guys again for always tuning in and following the show. As always, you can find the show on Facebook at backstage pass radio podcast, on Instagram at backstage pass radio, Twitter on backstage pass PC, and on the website at backstage pass. You guys stay safe and healthy and always take care of each other. And thanks for tuning in to Backstage Pass radio.


Adam Gordon  1:01:32

Thanks so much for joining us. We hope you enjoyed today's episode of backstage pass radio. Make sure to follow Randy on Facebook and Instagram at Randy Halsey music and on Twitter at our Halsey music. Also, make sure to like, subscribe and turn on alerts for upcoming podcasts. If you enjoyed the podcast, make sure to share the link with a friend and tell them backstage pass radio is the best show on the web for everything music. We'll see you next time right here on backstage pass radio