Biography of "Rough Cutt":
The first Rough Cutt lineup featured vocalist Paul Shortino, guitarist Jake E. Lee, keyboardist Claude Schnell, bassist Joey Cristofanilli, and drummer "Rockin' Dave" Alford. Both Lee and Alford had also previously been in another San Diego band, Ratt, which had just shortened it's name from Mickey Ratt to Ratt when Alford joined. Both Schnell and Cristofanilli had previously been in the band Magic.
Two other former Ratt members, guitarist Chris Hager and bassist Matt Thorne aka Matt Thorr (who replaced Cristofanilli) would also soon join Rough Cutt. After his departure, Cristofanilli joined forces with members of the band Sin who went on to release the album Made In Heaven under the name Jag Wire in 1985.
Lee left Rough Cutt in 1982, very briefly played in the band Dio, and then replaced the deceased Randy Rhoads as Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist. Lee in turn was replaced by Craig Goldy, formerly of the L.A. band Vengeance. Ronnie James Dio greatly influenced the development of the band. Dio’s wife Wendy Dio was the group’s manager, and Dio himself helped write one of the band’s songs. Rough Cutt contributed two tracks, “A Little Kindness” and “Used & Abused”, both produced by Dio and featuring Jake E Lee on guitar, to the compilation album “L.A's Hottest Unsigned Bands,” issued in 1983. Another Dio-produced track, “Try A Little Harder”, with Goldy on guitar featured on the KLOS radio sponsored “Rock to Riches” compilation, released later on in 1983. Goldy soon left the band, and went on to play in Giuffria, and later in Dio’s band. Goldy was replaced by Amir Derakh, another San Diego band alumnus.
With the lineup solidified with Shortino, Derakh, Hager, Thorne, and Alford, Rough Cutt was signed to Warner Bros. Records in 1984 and recorded two albums Rough Cutt produced by Tom Allom and Wants You! produced by Jack Douglas. The band toured extensively in the United States, Europe and Japan as an opening act for Foreigner, Dio, Krokus and others.
Shortino left the band in 1987 to replace Kevin DuBrow as singer of Quiet Riot. He was briefly replaced by Parramore McCarty of Warrior before Rough Cutt called it quits. Derakh, Thorne and Alford regrouped with singer Danny Simon and guitarist Michael Raphael to form Jailhouse, which released a live EP “Alive in a Mad World” in 1989. Derakh was later guitarist for the nu-metal band Orgy.
Shortino reformed Rough Cutt in 2000 with an all-new lineup that included former Aerosmith guitarist Jimmy Crespo, keyboardist J.T Garrett, Shortino's former Quiet Riot bandmate bassist Sean McNabb, and drummer John Homan (Magnitude 9), and recorded an EP Sneak Peak. The album was produced by former Rough Cutt bassist Matt Thorne (produced/engineered; The Eels, Trapt, Ratt, Warrant, Badlands, The Donnas, etc.). The band planned on recording a studio album titled Rough Cutt III, but apparently this ended up not happening. The band soon shortened its name to simply The Cutt.
The best known line-up of Rough Cutt reformed for a one-off reunion show in October 2002 at the Viper Room in Hollywood with Shortino, Derakh, Hager, Thorne, and Alford performing together one last time.
In 2008, Deadline Records issued the double disc Anthology consisting of pre- and post Warner Bros. era demos and a live set recorded in Syracuse, New York in 1985.
Rockin' Dave talks about the breakup with Ratt which led to the formation of "Rough Cutt":
At a Ratt band meeting, Stephen Pearcy fired the rhythm guitarist, Bob Dellelis, who was a friend of mine. Stephen then turned to me and asked, "Are you Okay with that"? I told him that firing a band member should be a band decision, not just his. The band's name is Ratt, not Ratt and Stephen Pearcy. If you're going to start firing people I am going to look for another gig, I'm looking for a record deal not a soap opera. Then Pearcy turned to Jake E. Lee and said, "Don't worry brother, I know another drummer". Jake said, "If Dave is leaving, I'm going with him". That was the birth of Rough Cutt.
I stayed friends with the guys in Ratt, it was all a professional decision. I still talk to Stephen and the boys when I see them. But having Ronnie James Dio's wife, Wendy, as a manager opened up a lot of doors that got Rough Cutt on the scene quickly. As a matter of fact, Rough Cutt got a major label deal before Motley Crue and Ratt. Our mistake was waiting for Ted Templeman for a year to produce us. He was busy doing Van Halen's 1984 album and then David Lee Roth's first solo record. After waiting almost a whole year, we knew we had to make a move and we decided to go with Judas Priest's producer, Tom Allom.
Ratt, Motley Crue, and Rough Cutt all got record deals within three weeks of each other and our record should have came out around the same time their's did. And yes, I knew we were losing momentum waiting for Templeman. Paul and I didn't want to wait but we were out voted by the guitar players. By the time we decided to go with Tom Allom we already shot ourselves in the foot - at that very point in time, timing was just everything.
I've always wondered what the outcome would have been since Rough Cutt had the better singer out of the three bands. Ohh well, that's rock and roll.
I have a million great memories of the Japan tour... I'll never forget this one night in New York City, Madison Square Garden. We were staying at the Waldorf and Dio's bass player, Jimmy Bain disappeared. Everyone was running around the hotel looking for him when George Harris, Rough Cutt Security, and I passed a small corridor and heard, cha-chink cha-chink... We looked around the corner and found him laying on the ground with his legs sticking out of the elevator door passed out cold still holding his drink... he hadn't spilled a drop.
Any time you play in front of a 500,000 people it's a great feeling. We felt like the Beatles having 1000's of people waiting for us at the airport.
We missed our window waiting a year so we did another record, shot another video, and went on tour. Unfortunately, after the "Wants You" record the band broke up. We dabbled with a few more recordings but nothing came out until the live album a few years later.
Rockin' Dave on the demise of Rough Cutt:
Once music started changing again, with the birth of NIVARNA and the Seattle wave of rock, I knew it was time to make a change. Once I started hearing things from the guys like maybe we should split up. Me, myself and I went to the streets of L.A. again looking for another singer. That's when I found DANNY SIMONE of JAILHOUSE.
The chemistry of JAILHOUSE was completely different from Rough Cutt, the lack commercial success had nothing to do with the sound of JAILHOUSE. The fact that all of the songs were written buy the same guy is what happened to JAILHOUSE, unlike Rough Cutt there was no depth to our music. It might as well been called the Mike Rapheall band.
Jailhouse was a lot of fun. It was just one sided.
One of my favorite old memories from playing on the strip was watching Tommy Lee and Vince Neil get into fist fights in the Rainbow, and the outrageous parties at Motley Crue's Clark apartment.
I recall Motley Crue at the Troubadour pre-record deal in 1980 or 1981 and I totally knew that they were going to be the biggest band on the planet. Matt Thorne and I were standing in the audience and the kids were dressed like Motley Crue and that's when I knew that they would be the next biggest thing.
I knew Bon Jovi was going to be huge when they opened for Ratt at the San Diego sports arena, I looked around the audience and all the girls were going wild for them.
When asked about jet-setting with Vince Neil:
It was about two best friends having the time of their lives back in the day .... "WhoooYaaaa"
Rockin" Dave Alford still plays in his own All-Star band in L.A. and Vegas and is working on his own recording studio.