Hard rocker Tom Keifer would be among the first to say that life doesn’t go as planned. The long-time musician, best known for his lead role in the band Cinderella, released his first solo album – ”The Way Life Goes” – April 30 after a 10-year process and a long struggle with partial vocal chord paralysis — the ruination of many music careers.
After extensive therapy and vocal training, Keifer says he feels stronger and more confident than he has in years. He is in the midst of a national album tour focusing on small venues like Tempe’s Marquee Theatre, where he performs Friday, May 3.
“The show is a combo of new material and old Cinderella stuff,” Keifer said. “In the middle, there’s an acoustic section that’s very well suited for the small venue; it has a more intimate storyteller’s vibe. (During the first leg of the tour) I really opened up and told stories about the songs and how they came about. It’s got a variety in terms of the high-energy stuff and acoustic and storyteller stuff.”
Keifer’s gravelly sound is unmistakable on “The Way Life Goes,” an album some critics say represents his best music ever. Cinderella fans will have a hard time not liking it, as will a younger generation of listeners, who will appreciate Keifer’s originality and the strong rock, country and blues flavors his music embodies.
“My writing has always been inspired by life, and I come from rock artists that were inspired by American roots and blues music: Rod Stewart, Mick Jagger, Led Zeppelin,” said Keifer. “All real stuff, good times and bad times, fallin’ in and out of love.”
Roots and blues music are trendy right now, as are all things Americana, but Keifer said it’s just a happy coincidence that his album rides that wave of popularity.
“We spent 10 years making this record; during the course of it there have been several trends, so that would be called a stroke of luck.” More than anything though, Keifer knows it’s perseverance that pays.
“I think, if anything, I learned a lot of patience. Trying to teach my voice to work properly again was very tedious. It’s taken many years to where I’m consistent and confident. Just in the last four years, I’ve rounded a corner and have a handle on it. It’s still an hour and a half of therapy every day to keep the muscle memory,” he said.
Keifer credits his comeback success to his current vocal coach Ron Anderson, who also sustained a vocal injury and ended up going into opera to correct it. He passed that classical training on to Keifer.
“It’s what saved my voice,” Keifer said. I’ve learned more from (Anderson) than anybody. I had things that he was able to help me make sense of, things I was trying to wrap my brain around; he pulled it all together.”
With the release of “The Way Life Goes,” Keifer shows that he, too, can pull it all together.
“When we decided to make this record, and produced it independently of a label, there was no rush, no deadline, no anything. I just wanted to make music and make it something I was proud of and loved. Be patient, and work at something and you’ll get where you want to go.”
IF YOU GO
What: Cinderella lead man Tom Keifer tours in support of his first solo album, “The Way Life Goes.”
When: 8 p.m. Friday, May 3
Where: Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe
Cost: $25 in advance, $28 at the door
Information: (480) 829-0607 or LuckyManOnline.com