September 26, 2023
Guitarist Michael Kelly Smith recalls getting fired along with Tony Destra for Cinderella to get record deal

Guitarist Michael Kelly Smith recalls getting fired along with Tony Destra for Cinderella to get record deal

Former Britny Fox and Cinderella guitarist Michael Kelly Smith was recently interviewed by Andrew Daly for Metal Edge Mag. In Part One of the interview, Daly covered Kelly Smith‘s time in Cinderella from 1983 to 1985. Kelly Smith was one of founding members of Cinderella along with frontman Tom Keifer, bassist Eric Brittingham and drummer Tony Destra.

Kelly Smith was asked how Cinderella ended up getting signed to which he replied: “So, all of this happened as Bon Jovi was recording 7800° Fahrenheit. One night, Jon Bon Jovi had seen Cinderella play at the Galaxy Club, and he went to his label and told them, “You need to sign these guys.” So now, Polygram had both Gene Simmons and Jon Bon Jovi telling them, “You need to check this band Cinderella out.” So, they sent an A&R guy down to check us out. The following Monday, they called Larry and said, “We want to sign the band, but we want a new drummer and a new guitar player.” And Larry said, “Okay… why is that?” And they just said, “We just see Cinderella with a different drummer and guitarist.””

When Daly pointed out that history shows that Cinderella took the deal, Smith noted: “Yeah… Cinderella was offered a deal minus Tony, and I, which was pretty much that. The thing was that we’d exhausted all possible options in terms of label interest, so this deal was the only deal. Tom and Eric felt they had no choice but to let us go. Nobody wanted that to happen, and Tom and Eric didn’t want to get rid of band members. And we certainly didn’t want to be fired, but that’s what happened.”

Smith was asked why he thought that the record label wanted to replace him to which he replied: “That’s a question that I have to this day. I still don’t have an answer. I know that it’s not because I couldn’t play, obviously. I’ve never been given a specific reason, and I’ll probably never know why. We were the kind of band where everybody did their thing. But I think the label wanted something more akin to classic rock bands where the focus would be mostly on the lead singer. I believe they envisioned Tom and Cinderella to be more like that. It could not have been anything to do with our musicianship because, frankly, I believe Tony and I were a perfect fit.”

You can read the rest of Part One of the interview with Michael Kelly Smith at Metal Edge Mag’s website.

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