In many ways, Tom Keifer’s life has been a Cinderella story. The singer and guitarist for the band Cinderella saw Keifer’s rise to fame, but not without its share of ups and downs. Today, Keifer is married to singer/songwriter Savannah Snow, and together with their son, Jaidan, they’re touring the U.S. to promote The Way Life Goes, his first album in more than a decade.
Tom and Savannah spoke exclusively to Celebrity Parents about life, love, parenting on the road, and the importance of strong songwriting. They show us that the way life goes can actually be a beautiful melody in and of itself.
How has the tour been going?
It’s been great. It took a long time making this record, so we’ve been touring for the last couple of years now, so we want to carry it through next summer to see through to be out and support it. We’re really loving the new band, and it’s a blast.
Let’s talk about the album, The Way Life Goes.
Tom: This record started off not being a record. Savannah and I had been through some bad legal things if you will in the industry, lawyers, and record companies. So when this record started, we were healing from some bad business experiences, but we wanted to make some music. We did a track with one of our friends, and we started recording tracks with some of our friends, some great musicians. Over the 10 years it evolved into a record, and there was no label involved. We did it all on our own and then woke up one day and realized that we did have a record.
Savannah: It didn’t happen right away. There was quite a bit of space where there was no music in this house for a while. We were broken and jaded for a while, and one day, we said, “Let’s go into the studio and play around a little bit and listen to some old tracks,” and that’s really how it started. It was definitely not a conscious effort for a long time to dip our toes back in the water.
I think it would be more organic that way.
Savannah: It was very organic. I was working within a songwriter’s schedule where there are so many songs a year you have to do. Working together, it started off not as a record. Whenever one of us was inspired, was when we would sit down. Everything was very spontaneous because we would get an idea and work on it; it could have been two weeks later. We worked when we were feeling it.
Tom: And that was the nice part of not having a record company involved. In the end you’re making a record that you feel is real to you. Song ideas and inspirations would come to me at different times. I wrote pretty much all the songs for Cinderella and I never forced it, even though we were on a schedule. I always had the antenna up and looking for those inspirations, but they were always real things thatI was writing about. That said, there was a schedule and a time frame in which it had to be produced in. With this record, there was no schedule, but that can be a blessing and a curse, because remember it took us 10 years to make this record!
Savannah: There was a lot of life happening while we were making this record. During the course of making this record, we got married. I can remember being pregnant with Jaidan, and he’s now 11 years-old. He definitely has been very supportive of what we had to do to promote this record because he doesn’t remember his life when we weren’t working on it.
It’s almost like this record is a second baby.
Savannah: It is and it’s funny because we kept saying when the record’s finished we’re going to be more traveling and we knew what our roles would be and the sacrifice involved. Because we prepped him for a really long time (and honestly prepped ourselves), now we’ll sit down and as long as we work ahead, we can make it work. He’s very flexible.
He’s a sweetheart and it’s a testament to your parenting.
Tom: It’s so much fun to have him involved. He likes coming out to the shows and coming out on the bus. The solo band that you saw has become such a family and they are incredible musicians and people and they love Jaidan and he loves them. It’s been a great fit all around. Sometimes there’s a show here and there that he can’t come to, and while we miss him, the band does, too!
Savannah: We’ve been very committed to this record for most of his life. We feel that it’s good for him to see that commitment to long-term goals.Things aren’t easy, and you put one foot in front of the other, and it’s really special that he feels like he’s been a part of it.
What is it like working together? Some couples are great as a couple but can’t work together?
Tom: It’s really great for us, because we don’t force writing. I’ve never been a writer that’s going to sit down and say, “I’m going to write a song at noon today.” I wait for something to hit me that’s an inspiration. We both work that way, and the song starts with the lyric, or title, or phrase or line that tells you what you’re going to write about. Even the heaviest Cinderella lyrics, that feel very guitar or riff-oriented, that always started as a lyric and then I add the riff later. The fact that we both approach songwriting the same way is great. As to what’s important, the seed of the song. Without that seed, I feel like you have to sit down with an acoustic guitar or a piano and just have the melody, the lyric, and the chord and have a great song. If you don’t have a strong lyric, you’re starting with a weak foundation. Savannah does approach it that way,
Savannah: It actually feels nothing like work. Sometimes when we go into the studio and try to bring it to life, that sometimes feels like work.
Tom: The writing is always the fun part. Once you have that lyric or melody, then it’s like what’s the energy that you want to have come from the band, and there are so many ways you can produce a song.
Savannah: Also, we’re pretty inseparable. So whether he brings it in or I bring it in, when you’re going through life with someone and they’re observing a lot of the same things that you are, it’s really easy to get into that place together.
As parents, how would you describe your parenting style?
Tom: We have different styles. I’m a little calmer.
Savannah: I absolutely agree with that! The pendulum does swing, so if one of us has to discipline, the other balances it.
Tom: In the 11 years we’ve been parents, we’ve been very careful not to send mixed messages. They might be delivered in different style, but it’s the same. We talk a lot about how we’re going to approach different things. I’ve watched couples undermine each other and sometimes it’s the attempt to be the favorite, and there’s none of that in this house. It can be very confusing for the child, which is why we’re so conscious to not do that.
Savannah: We’re not running a popularity contest. We care about how he’s being raised. We’re a very close family, and we’re together so much of the time that we have unique experience. He spends a lot of time with us, and we love that.
Tom: Things are flying, and it’s such a short period of time that you have them as children that we want to take in as much as we can and enjoy every moment.