Unlike the hit song he wrote for Cinderella, Tom Keifer knew what he got even before it was gone – or on hiatus.
He actually wrote the power ballad “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” just as the glam rock band was making it big.
“I thought, ‘Life is amazing,’ ” said Keifer, who released the song on Cinderella’s second album “Long Cold Winter.” The song peaked in 1998 at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100.
“It’s a long shot to get a lable to sign you and get their attention, and once you get that deal, it’s a long shot for them to even make your record,” he said. “We worked very hard in the beginning, but I guess it didn’t feel hard because you’re working hard at something you love doing.”
Keifer thought of this years ago as he wrote the power ballad while driving in the car to the studio. He thought, “What would it feel like if it all went away?”
It didn’t go away. Since the Philadelphia-rooted band’s discovery in 1985 by Jon Bon Jovi, Cinderella has sold more than 20 million albums.
Band members have continued to tour off and on throughout the past couple of decades and expect to do so again in the future. But for the past year, Keifer has toured with a solo band and has released a debut solo album “The Way Life Goes,” which includes the radio singles “The Flower Song” and “It’s Not Enough.”
“It’s a pretty kick-ass band,” he said of his solo band, slated to perform July 12 at Fiesta Days in McHenry.
“We do tons of the old Cinderella stuff and some of the new stuff. ... It’s pretty much what people would expect to see in a live show with Cinderella. There are some ballads and acoustics, but for the most part it just rocks.”
Keifer wrote exclusively many of Cinderella’s songs. But with his solo album, he said he collaborated and co-wrote with numerous artists, including his songwriter wife, Savannah Snow.
The two have a 10-year-old son, Jaidan, who wants to be a pro baseball player. That’s fine with Dad.
If he does pursue music, he – and anyone else with a passion for it – will succeed if they stay true to themselves, Keifer said.
“I just think you need to play from your heart and not chase trends and not try to be like anyone else,” he said. “I think every musician and songwriter has something unique inside of them. That’s what you need to find. Get really good at that, and you’ll be the next trend.”
Keifer said he sees many of the same fans drawn to Cinderella through the years, and he enjoys playing the old favorites.
“I listen to everything from Train to Bruno Mars to Halestorm. I love this new Imagine Dragons record,” he said.
Every decade brings new trends in music, he said, but the desire for hard rock will remain. It just comes in different packages.
“Rock and roll has always been powerful. Through the ’90s, there was a slightly different brand of rock,” he said. “To me, the biggest difference in the ’90s was the look more than anything. When you close your eyes and listen to the ’90s and ’80s, it’s slammin’ drums, loud guitar and a screaming singer. There are a lot of hard rock bands carrying on that traditon.”
Following is a Fiesta Days schedule:
Music Fest, 5-11 p.m., Petersen Park, 4300 Petersen Park Road, McHenry. Admission: $5 at gate; 10 and younger free.
Food/beer, amusements rides, designated driver booth.
• 6 p.m. Hans and the Hormones
• 8:30 p.m. Modern Day Romeos
McHenry River Run at East Campus High School, check in from 6:30-7:45 a.m. 5K Fun Run race begins at 8 a.m. 10K Mile Run race begins at 8:15 a.m.
Music Fest Rock N’ Rev, 3:30-11 p.m., Petersen Park. Admission: $10 pre-sale $15 at gate; 10 and younger free.
Food/beer, designated driver booth, amusements rides ($20 a person unlimited ride special 2-5 p.m.)
Tighthead Brewing Company Craft Beer Station, 4-6 p.m.
Harley Motorcycle Show, 5-7 p.m.
• 4:45 p.m. Friction
• 7 p.m. Cinderella’s Tom Keifer
• 9:15 p.m. Night Ranger
Music Fest, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., Petersen Park. Admission: $5 at gate; 10 years and younger free.
31st annual Car Show, 9 a.m.- 3 p.m.
Food/beer, designated driver booth, bags tournament, 2-4:30 p.m.; Family Fun Day, 2-6 p.m.; Stunt Bike Show, 2:15, 3:15 and 4:30 p.m. for 15 minutes each; amusements rides ($20 a person unlimited ride special 12-3 p.m.); Worldwide Traveler Trip Raffle to Riu Tequila, Riviera Maya Mexico, 5:45 p.m. (Must be present to win).
• 1:15 p.m. Heartache Tonight
• 4 p.m. American English
5-10 p.m., Petersen Park
Food, amusements rides ($20 a person unlimited ride special all evening.); Big Wheels Race, 5:30 p.m. check-in. 6:30 p.m. race begins; Teen Night, 7-10 p.m. with August Hotel
Open Track Meet, 5 p.m. check-in at McCracken Field. 5:15 p.m. events begin.
Concert in the Park, 5-9:30 p.m., Veterans Memorial Park, 3400 Pearl St., McHenry.
Food/beer; parade marshal ceremony honoring Pat Wirtz, 7-7:30 p.m.; The Scotch Lads, 7:30-9:00 p.m.
Children’s Ice Cream Social, 3-8 p.m., Veterans Memorial Park.
Food service, face painting, moon walk, balloonist, games, finger printing, Fire Safety House, inside sidewalk sales and much more. $5 for hand stamp and ice cream cone.
• 3:30 p.m. Soliel Dance Studio
• 4 p.m. “4 Strings Attached” of the Martin Lopez Academy
• 5 p.m. MarRay Dance Studio
• 6 p.m. Animals Adventure Show
• 7 p.m. The Many Talents of Brent Allen
• 7:30 p.m The Crystal Lake Strikers
31st annual Arts & Crafts in the Park, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Veterans Memorial Park. Outside sidewalk sales. Riverview Theatre Company songs, skits, puppetry and more, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Parade activities, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Veterans Memorial Park. Parade theme “British Invasion.” Parade at 1:30 p.m., Main Street to Green Street to Pearl Street to Riverside Drive to Washington Street. Post-parade Drum & Bugle Corps show, gazebo.
Information: www.mchenryfiestadays.com or 815-385-4300.