Kurt Deimer Interview;
Talks EP, Acting And Playing With Yngwie
Kurt Deimer is blazing his own trail and doing things his own way.
This up and coming rocker released his debut EP this past fall and he is currently on tour opening up for Yngwie Malmsteen. Both artists will be playing The Oden on Saturday, May 14.
We had the chance to speak with Kurt to discuss his late start in the music business, working with Phil X and Geoff Tate, his acting career and playing live.
Greg Drugan: Hey Kurt, congratulations on your EP Work Hard, Rock Hard. You have a variety of different rock songs on there that makes it unique. Was that your plan to try different things?
Kurt Deimer: Oh yeah. We don’t want to be pigeon holed as a band. Kurt Deimer is all about rock. And we have our own brand of rock, our own style of rock. I want Phil X to be Phil X and he wants me to be me. Our producer, Chris Lord-Alge who discovered me, just took me under his wing. He told me that I had my own style and I could do pretty much anything because I had a story to tell. Hopefully my lyrics resonate with people and they can apply it to their life and it helps people.
GD: Absolutely! I just heard your new single, “Hero.” Not only does it rock, but it has a very positive, uplifting vibe to it as well.
KD: Thank you, man. Phil and I really dig into helping other people. We respect the fact that we couldn’t do what we do with out all the men and women on the front lines. From first responders to the people that just went to work at the grocery while we were all stuck at home. We wanted to honor all those folks. I had written a song about that and the way Phil works his magical guitar ways and the way the three of us write music together. It kinda reminds me of a “We Will Rock You” kinda vibe. I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t start hearing it at stadiums and games and all over the place. It is tailored to that.
GD: It does have that vibe, and when you hear it, it puts a smile on your face.
KD: Yeah, that’s what I’m hoping it does. It also lets everyone know that you, me or anyone can be a hero. You are out in public somewhere and people take care of each other. We can all be a hero, we just have to be alert to that fact.
GD: You also have a cover of “Have A Cigar.” It’s such a classic song but you put a fresh spin on it. How did you decide to cover that song?
KD: My original writing partner, we did a demo back in 2018. We put this little slate of music together and we did a couple of covers. He wanted to do “Have A Cigar” but I wasn’t really feeling how that was going down. I totally respect the hell out of them and the music. I’ve listened to them my whole life, but “Have A Cigar” wasn’t at the top of the list. We arranged it the way Ben was seeing it. When we got out to LA, my manager at the time got Chris Lord-Alge to take at look at my demo. He said he wanted to be my producer and said “You know that ‘Have A Cigar’ song, I’m gonna show you how we can arrange it.” He put his session players on it, he shows me the vibe of the song and how he wants me to sing it. I hear Phil X on it and his guitar solo blew me away. I blew him away with my unique voice and we just turned it into our rocking version (of that song). That’s how it all came to fruition. We decided to make a music video and that’s the first time Phil and I met, was on the set. And here we are!
GD: You also have a duet with one of my favorite singers, Geoff Tate on the song “Burn Together.” How did that collaboration happen?
KD: “Burn Together” was another song that Ben and I had written together. I did not like the original version, I wasn’t feeling the vibe. But Chris liked the vibe so he and Phil took over on it and they put the song together the way they were feeling it. I loved it then. Then it catapulted to a song that could make it on our first EP. My management at the time, Andy Gould, took a chance on me, I had Chris, who took me under his wing and Paul Gargano came in with Andy so it was like a duel manager situation . Paul knows the Tate’s and the next thing I know, they (the Tate’s) are flying in and we are having dinner with them. Then we decide to the music video and we decide to have him sing on “Burn Together” because I thought that would be the best song to show my vocal stylings against his. It was so interspersed together so well, and Geoff Tate was so kind enough to let me be direct support on his tour. Thanks to my management, our first tour of Phil X and I together was direct support for Geoff Tate. It was very surreal
GD: Tell me about your musical background. Do you play any instruments and when did you start singing?
KD: My parents got me a drum set when I was little, so I’ve been playing the drums since I was young. I took piano lessons at age five or six, so I have a very good ear for music. I play a little guitar and a little bass, but I hear it all. I can read music as well. My dad and my sister were the vocalists. My sister could have been on The Voice, she had that powerful, operatic voice. My dad sang baritone in the church choir and I was just kinda lost. I wanted to work all the time and trying to figure out how to make money. I was the dark sheep of the family.
My sister died in 2013 to ovarian cancer and my dad died in 2016 from COPD. Now it’s like they are in me now. I played in a rock back when I was in my 20s. It was a cover band but I wasn’t that into it. But I realized I can do it my own way and my own style. I’ve got the genes. Like it or you don’t, that’s fine with me. You probably don’t like the same toppings on your pizza that I do. Just stay true to who you are. If you resonate with 1% of the world, that’s a pretty big fan base.
GD: That’s a lot of people for sure! Who were some of your musical influences growing up?
KD: I love Queensryche! I went to a lot of epic shows back in the ‘80s. I saw Ozzy with Randy Rhodes. Van Halen Fair Warning tour, then AC/DC with Bon Scott with his unique voice. I saw Iron Maiden before Bruce (Dickinson) joined. I was addicted to going to these shows and watching those performances. I wasn’t naive enough to think that it was easy. It’s a grind and it’s a lot of work. I knew I couldn’t do it at a young age, but one day if I had the wherewithal I’m gonna do it. The time came and the signs came and here I am.
GD: It’s all about timing. Besides being involved with music, you are also involved with movies. How did your movie career come about?
KD: I decided to get out of music when I was about twenty. I got married young and started a family. I also have a bachelors and a masters degree. I have three beautiful sons. I started oil companies and I was in the oil business like my father did for a while. I figured out how to make my own companies and now they run themselves. Back in 2017, we had an agency that was placing our brand in movies. Our oil brand was being placed in some pretty big movies. So I said, If you can get me a cameo in them, let’s start doing that. So I got a cameo in Trading Paint, where I presented a check, no speaking part or anything. As I was there walking around the infield of this dirt track in Alabama for Trading Paint with John Travolta and Shania Twain and Toby Sebastian from Game of Thrones, they came up to me and said, “we like your look and style and we need someone to be the track announcer at the end. We’d like to offer you a speaking role. This is an hour before they were going to shoot the scene. I said, “yep, sign me up!” I learned the lines, planned the scene out with John Travolta, lights, camera, action and I loved it. Next thing you know, I’m in movies. Two months later, I get put in Halloween as the gas station attendant. It’s the 2018, John Carpenter Halloween with Jamie Lee Curtis. I get killed by Michael Myers. I take that as my sign and that’s why I got back into music a little bit after that.
Now I started my own horror franchise. I’m starting doing lead roles, which I’m starting to pick up steam with how I portray this character in Hillbilly Hallow, which will be coming out this fall. I got my first big feature film coming out this year.
GD: Man, you are a busy guy for sure.
KD: I love it! You only live once, remember that. Everyone out there, you live once, follow your dreams and work hard and you can make it happen.
GD: So you are currently on tour with Yngwie Malmsteen, how has that tour been going so far?
KD: Surprisingly very well. When you open up for a guitar virtuoso and a legend like Yngwie, you're not sure what kind of folks are going to show up. Are they all going to be shredders? It’s been amazing. We play, and people are like, ‘thank you for being here. We’ve never heard of you guys and you are awesome.’ We’re just different and we want to be different. It’s like when Van Halen went out and opened up for Black Sabbath to get started. They had their own style. People are just rocking out to us and it’s a good complement to when Yngwie comes out because you get two different styles of rock. Nobody wants to hear the same thing all night.
GD: I read that you are an Ohio guy. I’m based here in Cleveland and you will be playing in Cleveland soon. Have you ever played in Cleveland?
KD: Yes, when we were out with Geoff Tate last year, we played the Beachland Ballroom. I love Cleveland. I actually went up to Cleveland on our off time because I’m a big reggae fan and I’m friends with the guys from The Movement and I went back to the Beachland to hang out with those guys. I love Cleveland and can’t wait to get back there.
GD: Besides your movie coming out, what are your plans for the rest of the year? Do you have anything lined up for the summer?
KD: Management has been directed to work on even bigger tours in bigger venues. We got "Hero” that just came out on May 6th and on Father’s Day, we are releasing another big single that I think will be big all over the world called “My Dad.” We got our second EP coming out in August with six more tunes that will just blow your mind. We hope to be touring all around that. Then Hillbilly Hallow will be coming out in the fall then I hope to be shooting another movie over the winter and possibly another one between now and then.
GD: Your plate is full, my friend!
KD: Yes sir! That’s the way I like it.
GD: Kurt, I wish you the best of luck. Safe travels on the road. Again, we look forward to seeing you here in Cleveland and I wish you all the success!
KD: I really appreciate it, Greg. Without folks like you, people wouldn’t hear our music. I appreciate you having us and taking the time to care and ask us how we got to where we are.
Be sure to check out Kurt Deimer when he opens up for Yngwie Malmsteen on Saturday, May 14 at The Odeon.
You can also check out Kurt's new single "Hero" below.