Posted on June 28th. 2017
Questionnaire by Jason Houston on behalf of METAL TO INFINITY WEBZINE BELGIUM
Jason: Hello Tommy and Thank you for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to speak with us here at Metal To Infinity. Most people like myself Tommy first took notice of you back in 1990 when you joined Britny Fox and replaced original frontman “Dizzy” Dean Davidson. My question to you is were you much of a Britny Fox fan before you joined the band or would you say you became more a fan of the band after you joined the band?
Tommy: I had seen them on the top 10 MTV video shows. I appreciated their success but was more a fan of Judas Priest, Ozzy, Dio, Maiden etc. Once I was in the band, I realized they liked a lot of the same bands I did.
Jason: Could you share with how you first got the opportunity to team up with Britny Fox? I mean was their an audition process? Did someone recommend you to the band? Did someone from the band call you?
Tommy: A girlfriend of mine had a trade magazine with an advert for Britny Fox that said they were auditioning new singers and suggested I contact them.
Jason: Do you remember how you first learned that you had actually landed the Britny Fox gig and your initial feeling/reaction when you received the big news that you had landed the gig?
Tommy: After auditions, writing songs and hanging out with the band on several occasions over several months, their manager phoned me and said they had all decided the gig was mine if I wanted it. I was thrilled beyond words but also connected, as I had my own band with an album out and producers and management shopping for a record deal with me. I had to dismantle all of that in order to join Britny Fox. That was awful and I hated having to do it but it had to be done.
Jason: I’m sure at the time like several other bands who replace original members that you might of felt a little pressure about selling the shoes of the band’s original Singer. On that note, I have to ask if initially when it came to performing the Britny Fox material of the first two albums, if you joined the band with performing those songs just as Dean had or did you have the approach of wanting to cover that material but kind of also put your personality/spirit when covering the Dean era tunes?
Tommy: I did both. At first I wanted to cover them the way Dean sang them. As time went on, I started to adapt them more to my voice . There may be some similarities but my voice is a bit different in tone than his.
Jason: Now Tommy, I know your first Britny Fox album was Bite Down Hard so I’d like to ask you; what do you remember most from the recording of that album?
Tommy: I remember it being a period of intense fun, insanity and many other things. It was massive focus for 3 months, working 5 days a week with Duane Baron and John Purdell; the producers who produced Ozzy’s “No More Tears” album. We worked and partied hard. A whirlwind of energy spent. Great time!
Jason: Here in 2017 there’s probably a huge chunk of the Britny Fox fan base who doesn’t even know who Dean Davidson is for the simple fact that you’ve now been fronting the band longer than he was in it. With that being said I have to ask you, after all these years of being in the band, do you feel that the fans accept you just as much as other band members as Billy Childs and Johnny Dee who have both been there almost since the beginning of the band?
Tommy: For the most part I believe.
Jason: Of the albums that you’ve done with Britny Fox which one is your favorite and why?
Tommy: Bite Down Hard. We had a large budget and recorded it at One On One and Devonshire studios on high end equipment. That was a huge luxury.
Jason: After a number years of not being together just last year in 2016 Britny Fox decided to get back together. Talk a little bit about how the Re-union first came together… I mean how surprised were you when you got that call for the band to get back together?
Tommy: It was actually 2015 when we started playing shows again; Farm Rock in Georgia and others. I thought they would reunite with Dean if they were going to do something but they asked me.
Jason: When you got that phone call about getting back together with Britny Fox were you in from day one or did you have to think about it at all?
Tommy: It took a while. I said no for several months. I wasn’t there mentally at the time. I’d just gone through some personal tragedy in my life but my manager Doobie finally talked me into it and I committed.
Jason: Britny Fox has been performing live again since 2015. What’s it been like being back into the fold? How do you feel the fans have reacted to the return of the band?
Tommy: It was great fun. We received a great reception and it was building with each gig.
Jason: Have you had any contact with Michael Kelly Smith since he quit working with band?
Jason: While it’s no secret that Britny Fox already has a great catalog of music, is there any chance that fans might get a new album down the line?
Tommy: You never know.
Jason: Ok Tommy, we could talk all day about Britny Fox but we’ll save that for another day and time. In addition to fronting the band, you are also a solo artist and from your own Tommy Paris Band. Now I understand that you and your band are about to release a new CD. Do you have a release date yet?
Jason: Like I said you’ve been touring a lot these days with Britny Fox these days but will your fans have a chance to also see you perform live with The Tommy Paris Band in the near future?
Tommy: Yes, The Tommy Paris Band is opening for George Lynch at Vamp’d in Las Vegas on July 20th at 9:00 p.m. More to come.
Jason: I’m sure that fronting Britny Fox and fronting your own solo band are two very different animals but what’s the biggest difference for you with both bands. I mean I’d imagine with Tommy Paris Band you have more power/say and then there’s also the fact that with Britny Fox fans have an expectation of what they’re going to hear where as with The Tommy Paris Band you have more of a creative freedom to go outside of the box and record/write different types of songs?
Tommy: Exactly. In my own band, I have all the new material from The Tommy Paris Band CD to play in the live set. I include Britny Fox songs in the live set as well so people who like BF will be satisfied. It’s a new set with a new band and it’s exciting and fun! Greatly looking forward to touring this year!
Jason: Now while most people know what a great Singer you are Tommy, you’re also a Guitar Player so I’d like to ask you; did you start out as a Guitar Player first or were you always a Singer as well?
Tommy: I started playing guitar and singing around the same time when I was in Jr High.
Jason: As far as Guitar Players go, I was curious who were the guitar players who had the greatest influence on you?
Tommy: Chuck Berry, Danny Cedrone, Davey Johnstone, Peter Frampton, Ace Frehley, Michael Schenker, Yngwie, Glenn Tipton, and so many more.
Jason: Who were the bands who had the greatest influence on you when you were growing up?
Tommy: Elvis, Little Richard, Beatles, Kiss, Elton John, Deep Purple, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Rush, Chicago, Judas Priest, UFO, Black Sabbath, Dio, Iron Maiden, Scorpions, SO many more.
Jason: What’s the album in your collection Tommy that had the greatest influence on you and why would you say it had such a major impact on you?
Tommy: RUSH – 2112 When I heard “Temples Of Syrinx” for the first time, my mind was blown by Geddy Lee’s voice. I had never heard such a unique and brutal voice in my life. It was astounding.
Jason: Thanks again Tommy for taking the time to talk to us. Is there anything else you’d like to say to all your Britny Fox & Tommy Paris band fans out there?
Tommy: THANK YOU SO MUCH for your faithful support of my work with Britny Fox and The Tommy Paris Band!! You guys rule!!
Jason: Do you have an official website where your fans can keep up to date with all your activities?
Tommy: The Tommy Paris Band CD is available exclusively at shop.tommyparis.com
Visit www.tommyparis.com for samples of the new CD, tour dates, photos, discography, contact and more.