Iconic 80s queen, Pat Benatar and husband-guitarist Neil “Spyder” Giraldo will rock the house at Port Chester's Capitol Theatre this Saturday, January 26. Benatar, known for her string of top 40 hits including, “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “Fire and Ice,” “Hell is for Children,” “Heartbreaker,” “Precious Time,” “We Belong,” "Promises in the Dark," “Love is a Battlefield,” and “Invincible” received heavy rotation on MTV's playlist throughout her remarkable career in the 80s. Her credentials include two certified multi-platinum albums, five certified platinum albums and three certified gold albums; identifying her as the number one female artist of all time in that decade.
I spoke with Neil on the phone about their career, the show at the Cap and the tour. He seemed very down-to-earth and receptive to my questions.
“This is an off-season tour for us—we try to put new stuff in there; there's always a few surprises that we don't know we're going to do it all depends on how much time I have during the day and during soundcheck,” he says. “I have a lot of songs I've written it's just trying to wrangle everybody together at the same time, “Ok guys, let's figure this song out so we can do it tonight!” You never know, there's all kinds of new stuff. For the most part, until we get something released out there I would give everybody most of the hits and then a few surprises.”
Pat has written an autobiography about her life as one of the most famous female rock stars of the 80s and beyond. Neil says, he wasn't part of the process with Pat's book, but has a book he's written himself.
“She wrote it on her own with a woman who passed away. The book is basically about us; it could have been titled a little different. People ask me, “Hey, Spyder aren't your stories just as wild as your wife's maybe even wilder! I had a wilder past before her! So I started scribbling people seemed to like it— We started together we were partners so you'll look forward to a book from me as well,” he noted.
I asked how he got his nickname, “Spyder.”
“Patricia gave me that name during our first tour in 1979; there was a dinner club called, “Spyders” the sign was black and yellow and she just looked at me and said, “Spyder! I'll call you Spyder!” And I do like to drive fast so Spyder is the reference to the car too! So it all goes together!”
Whenever he and Pat are on tour, “Spyder” says he enjoys the 90-minutes that they're on stage.
“Everything else is not tiresome but it gets “old.” You can't get good food; that's the struggle. I love running, exercising but overall it's a lot of fun and a great life I just wish I had a bigger studio and had more time to create while I was on the road.”
Their adventures together on the road, are all documented in his new book.
“There's a lot of stories that are not covered in Pat's book (she didn't remember but I did) that it involved me and there was a lot of crazy stuff that I mention in my book.”
Neil admits there isn't one particular favorite song that he likes to perform on stage.
“I would say it varies. Sometimes it's “Hell is for Children” or “We Belong” it depends on the mood. Sometimes I like to play a little more piano on “Let's Stay Together” with a Jerry Lee Lewis kind of rig right in the middle of it but no particular favorite.”
And just when you thought the holiday season was over; Neil says a Christmas record with new material is being produced but wouldn't elaborate further.
“I'm working on a solo Christmas record with a very good buddy of mine–I like to refer to it as not a “Frosty the Snowman” Christmas record! It's dark, it's happy it's about love lost, found, and lost again—hardships around the season. I have a lot of projects that I'm doing we're doing a record Patricia and I so a lot of great surprises are going on.”
He marvels at the old theaters that they played in. They still have that charm and are so beautiful. The Cap should be no exception.
“We've been to many old theaters and they are so beautiful! I love them!” he stated.
In the social media age, Neil says that You Tube has made the most impact on the music industry today.
“I think You Tube is a big thing for the music business there's more stuff accessible there's a lot of talent. When I was a kid, and I wanted to learn a Hendrix song; I had to listen to it and I couldn't watch somebody play I had no idea how to do it or tune the guitar! Today, you can just watch You Tube. That accelerates everybody's learning process. So if there was talented people before there's even more out there! There's so much people don't know about us like we are a partnership and I created the band it's a big different than what people think; it should have been a band name.”
The plans after the tour are different projects but they are keeping it under wraps for now.
“I can't go into specifics, but I think that 2013 is going to have a lot of new material; we're moving in a really good direction. We have new management and I'm going crazy I feel like I just got out of jail and want to create more!” he joked.
For tour dates and more information, visit Pat and Neil's website; benatargiraldo.com.