Jack Blades - Interview 1 (1997)


In my opinion Night Ranger is THE American rock band. There are no other bands which typify the hard edged guitar, the anthem rockers, and the soaring ballads like these guys do. Their amazing harmonies stem from the advantage of having two lead vocalists, in bassist Jack Blades and drummer Kelly Keagy. The infamous guitar work is supplied by Brad Gillis and the eight finger tapper himself, Jeff Watson. The ‘man who put it all together’ for them, is keyboard player Alan ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald. Together they have made some of the best American rock ever. Their classic albums ‘Dawn Patrol’, ‘Midnight Madness’, ‘Seven Wishes’, ‘Big Life’(especially Big Life!), and ‘Man In Motion’ have never been far from my CD player.
I talked to Kelly Keagy earlier in the year, about the ‘Feeding Off The Mojo’ project, and now have the pleasure of talking to Jack Blades, who outside of Night Ranger, has recorded

So what's going on Jack?
Yeah, they’re putting on a guitar part, so I won’t have to worry about it for a couple of minutes. We are in the studio now, I have a studio in my barn, here on my ranch, and we are recording the new Night Ranger record, and were doing overdubs, and so they are putting a guitar part on, so they won’t need me for a few minutes.

The first thing I was going to ask you, is what were you doing up a 7am?
You are obviously a busy guy!

Oh well, yeah, there is no rest for the wicked, Andrew.
I always get up early, I’m an early riser, you know, I just have so much on my mind, and actually, to tell you the truth, it’s very peaceful at seven o’clock. No phones ring, nobody bothers you....

Most of the time no phones ring....
Right, most of the time!!

And you are on a ranch are you?
Yeah, yeah, it’s Northern California, I live up in Sanoma County, up in the wine country of California.

I’ve been as far north as Marin County.
Yeah, I’m the next county up from that.
I’m about, like, 40 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

That’s nice...
Yeah, it’s where they grow all the Californian wines, all the vineyards are all over....

So Night Ranger are recording then?
Yeah, we’re actually recording!

I heard the rumours! Who’s the album for? I heard it was a one off Japanese deal.
Well what happened, was that nobody was doing anything in the summer, and the guys called, you know, everybody started calling everybody up, some of the guys called me and said what are you doing, and I wasn’t doing anything, so we decided to get together and play some Japanese shows.

I saw the reviews, they were really great!
Yeah, yeah we did really, I mean Night Ranger was always a very big band in Japan, and um, it was so fun, and then all these Japanese record companies came and they started bidding for us, and one of them came up, you know, kinda outshined everyone else, they were a good company and all, so we went with Zero.

Know them well.
Yeah, we went with Zero Corporation, and so we actually started recording, last week we cut the basic tracks, we did that in a studio in Salsolido, and then um, on Monday of this week, we moved up to my studio, and we’re doing all the overdubs, and we have my producer, that did all the Damn Yankees records, Ron Nevison.

Great producer!
Yeah, he’s wonderful, so we hired him to produce this record.

He’s also done a few records for Zero
Yeah, the Schenker stuff..

And the UFO.
And um, I did two Damn Yankees albums with him, so I’ve known him since 1989 very well, and so um, I was real excited about the fact he wanted to do it and so we got him involved, so now we are all up here slagging it away.

When would you like to get the album out?
Well we are going to have it finished by the middle of January, and um, it will probably come out sometime in March or April, and we are going to go ahead and get distribution for the rest of the world.

I was going to ask about that.
The thing is I wasn’t sure where this was going to go when we first started it Andrew, and we have all become very excited about it because it’s a real, um, there are some amazing songs, and there is some great playing, and it’s gotten to a different level that none of us expected it to be, and so consequently it has changed the game plan for everyone. We are very excited about it.

There are a lot of people out there who want a new Night Ranger record.
Well I think that’s true, or manager is Miles Copeland, he manages me, so Miles is going to handle the thing, and get everything squared away so we can release it in the States, and throughout the rest of the world.

That will go down well.
I think so too, I think everybody will be very surprised when they hear the music.

Night Ranger is responsible for some classic tunes, there are a lot who have tried to copy your sound.
Well I think that they are going to be pleasantly surprised when they put this CD on, because of the way the songs are and everybody is playing, you know, nobody’s stoned or drunk anymore! You know, I’m not saying that was bad, but you know, everything has it’s place, and now it’s sort of like, everyone has, God, got a lot better! And with the original guys all together it’s kind of really fun.

Did you record any of the Japanese shows? You know they love their live albums!
No we didn’t record any of the shows. Hey here’s Ron Nevison now....Hey Ron, what do you want to say to your Australian fans? I’m doing an interview to Australia right now.
Hello mate!
You can quote Ron Nevison on that!
Ron says that we are carving out some new frontiers right now!

That’s great! I am putting together a web site, which this interview will be on also.
Oh really! Great. Very cool.

Were you aware that you actually have a Jack Blades page on the net?

There is a fan of yours, a lady who has put together her own page with a bunch of photos of you.
You’re joking!!?

I’m not joking! I did a search and that’s what I found! You have a fan out there! There is a photo of her when she met you back in ‘83 or ‘84!
You’re joking! How did you, what did you search? Jack Blades?

Yep, into one of the search engines.
Ha Ha Ha, that’s very funny.

You will have to check it out!
So what’s happening with Damn Yankees? I heard something was going on there also, but I guess that’s on hold now?
Yeah, there’s nothing happening there at all.

Do you still see Tommy at all?

So he’s back with Styx then?
Yes he is.

You guys wrote a lot of songs over the last couple of years for different people?
Yes, we have.

Do you enjoy doing that?
Yeah, from Aerosmith and Alice Cooper to Ozzy and Vince Neil, we’ve written some great songs. Actually the last few months I have written some songs with friends of mine who live in Nashville, that are being covered now by several country stars.

Well the Shaw/Blades songs would lend itself to that format.
Yeah, it kinda would, wouldn’t it! That was kind of like leaning towards that type of format. But it’s fun, you know, I write songs, you know what I’m saying. My manager Miles Copeland has a castle in the south of France, and we go over there like once a year he invites like twenty or twenty-one very well known, like famous song writers from America and Europe and we all converge on the castle, and for ten days we just sit and write songs together, and record them there. We’ve written some amazing things.

Wow! That’d be really hard then!!?
Oh its very cool. I was with Paul Carrack last, um, two months ago, and Carol King and Mark Hudson, some really good songwriters. In fact Mark and I wrote a great song called Neverland that’s on this record.

Any other titles for the album?
Walk In The Future, As Always I Remain, Slap Like Being Born....
That’s a killer song.
Mon Dye Nye, which is Japanese for No Problem, that’s a real killer rockin’ tune.
Sunday Morning, Someday I Will, there’s some great material.

What did you think of the Mojo album?
You know what, can I be real honest with you?

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I would have thought from your point of view it would have been strange to see them doing it without you.
Well, let me be very honest with you, and I swear to God, this is the truth, and I’m telling you this because I don’t bullshit my life anymore.

I never heard it. I’ve never listened to it!

Oh no, ha ha ha (laughs allround!)
And I think that’s probably terrible and probably Kelly and Brad would hate me for it, but I have not heard one thing from it! And to tell you the truth, I don’t really want to. Because it’s not really....,you know, this is Night Ranger. And they did their thing, and that was kind of a Night Ranger thing, however it’s kinda neat with all five of us together.

And ‘Fitz’ is back also?
Yeah, sure.

I ask because he kind of disappeared off the scene for a while.
Well he was playing keyboards for Van Halen, behind the curtain, you know. He was the keyboard guy for Van Halen over the last five or six years. You know, so when you hear all that Jump stuff, you know duh duh dah dah, that’s Fitz behind the curtain!

So when I saw them live a couple of years back, in Toronto, I really heard Fitz?
Yeah, Yeah!

My fiancee and I saw you in Toronto in ‘93.
Oh, with the Yankees?

Yeah, great show.
Was it that outdoors place?

No the small theatre.
Oh my gosh, that was a fun show! Was that with Jackyl?

It was, yeah, they go off live, eh?
Yeah, Jesse DuPre is a very good friend of mine. Yeah, he and I have become very good friends.

He’s a good laugh.
Oh yeah, he’s a great guy, he’s great to be with, we have a ball together. I just talked to him yesterday infact. Talking of very good friends, my son was over this summer with Ozzy’s, Ozzy Osbourne’s family because my son, Colin, has become very good friends with Ozzy’s son Jack. They invited him to England, he was in England for two weeks.

Cool! How old is your son now?
He’s 14, he had a ball!
Hang on a minute Andrew.....Yeah I’ll be up in a flash.....Yeah I promise! Don’t get me in trouble now Andrew! Ha Ha, I still got a few minutes.

What about Night Ranger albums? Have you got any favourites, looking back, now that it has been a few years?
I think the favourite for me would be, ah....the ah....the first one, you know, cause it was real raw. The first and the second album were my favourite. Although the third album......I like Seven Wishes! Shit I don’t know man!! Oh, hey! I know what I like, I know what my favourite Night Ranger album of all time, my favourite Night Ranger is Night Ranger’s Greatest Hits! hahaha

Oh right, yeah, very diplomatic there!

My favourite from the band is Big Life.
Big life is a very good record.

The Shaw/Blades was a departure for you. Any plans to something like that again?
Yes, it was. It was a fun thing to do. Ted was getting ready to do a solo record, and the label wanted Tommy and I to do something. So they let us do whatever we wanted to, and it was really a fun thing. It was sad in hindsight, as Warner Bros made a big change in their upper personnel, and it caused that CD to kinda get lost.

I thought it did vanish quickly.
Yeah, my friends over there were Mo Austin and Michael Austin, Mo’s son, and when they left, and went over to Dreamworks, the new regime that was in there were a bunch of alternative assholes that didn’t want anything to do with us, and they didn’t want anything to do with Damn Yankees, so they bought us off. They owed us a lot of money, they owed us two albums, so they bought us off of the label.

That’s just typical!
Yeah, I don’t care, I’ve been through all that stuff before, I’d rather not be somewhere where I’m not wanted. There are so many songs in my heart.

Is there anything in the future that you have always wanted to do, that you may get the chance to do?
No, I probably would like to go to the pyramids, though! I’ve never done that! No I’m just enjoying it as it goes, I’m enjoying making this CD with all the guys, I’m really enjoying these songs, I kinda like, wherever I am at the time is where I love to be. I’m very happy.

So Night Ranger could be a permanent re-union then?
Um it’s hard to say. If everyone gets on everybody’s nerves, no! Hahahaha! You know what I mean!?

Yeah, sure!
Right now, we are having a fun time! And as you know, fun is the most important thing to have.

If it’s not fun, then there is no reason doing it. That’s the way we look at it.

Yeah, definitely. Do you see a Damn Yankees album in the future?
Possibly, sure. I mean, yeah, everybody’s still semi-talking to everybody. You know, I talk to Ted all the time.

He’s a wild man, eh?!
He’s always threatening to want to do another one, and if everybody’s schedules collide at the right time, and if the stars are right, we’ll do something. Who knows.

What about what you are listening to at the moment?
I listen to all kinds of music, you know. I like the Van Halen, the new Greatest Hits, I love the Smashing Pumpkins, you know, Mellon Collie, I love that CD. I think that CD from President Of The United States is pretty cool, that new one.
Ah, the new Alice In Chains out and the new Ozzy record, and I can’t wait for the new Aerosmith CD to come out.

Me neither.
I think I wrote a couple of songs, I don’t know, but I wrote some songs with Steven and Joe for the new album. I’m hoping they’ll be on it.

Thank you Jack for your time.

Well Andrew once again I absolutely apologise for not, you know, it’s really not, I’m sorry about that, but I’m glad we were able to hook up now, I’m so glad you called me now. I was sitting right by the phone, I was just down here getting a cassette of a song, for Jeff that we gotta figure out a part on or something.
I was just walking by the phone when it rang, so that worked out really well. I am looking forward to reading this interview.

Yeah, I'll get it to you.
I’m in Tasmania, have you heard fo it at all?

I’ve heard of the cartoon!

Yeah, it’s the little island off the south east coast of mainland Australia.
Oh, really?

Yeah, there is 500,000 people here, so it’s not too small or anything.
Yeah, but you’re on Tasmania! That’s very cool!

The home of the Devil.
The home of the Tasmanian Devil. I like it already! I knew I liked you!


Okay, maybe we will get the chance to talk again sometime.
Well I’m excited about you getting to hear this new project, it’s awesome stuff.

Can’t wait! Hopefully I’ll be able to see you guys live.
If you need anything else, don’t hesitate to give me a jingle.

Thank you very much.
Allright mate! See you later! Bye.(hangs up)

Right on Jack, yeah I may give you a call when I'm in the area sometime!!!

C. 1997 Andrew J McNeice Back To The AOR HARD ROCK HOT SPOT


The Spinatras - Ross Fiedman (1997)

So the Spinatras is a pretty big style change! From Heyday and Manowar to this - it's like a whole new attitude.
Yeah, Heyday was like, my thing into blues rock. But before that I was in Manitoba's Wild Kingdom, and then Manowar before that. And the dictators before that.
Every band I have been has had a distinct style change.

What is happening with the Spinatras? Is it coming out on disc?
We hope for it to come out on disc. We are dealing with a few major labels, and independent labels. I think it will be on a major.
I don't know yet, what exactly it's going to be.
There is a lot of interest.

Well it sounds good enough to be on a major.
You like it?

Yeah, it's got a lot of attitude. It pretty loose, groovy. Was it recorded live?
We basically recorded it live and added our little overdubs to it.
The rhythm track is always live, and I go in and do my little magical thing to it.

A good fun vibe to it this time. You guys really are having a lot of fun.
Right. The thing is, all the bands were so depressed. Everything has so much depression to it. You know, these guys are completely miserable!!
All of a sudden bands like No Doubt and Smash Mouth, you know, it's okay to smile and have fun again.

I have noticed that.
Rock n roll is really coming back, and Spinatras is part of that. We definitely rock, and four years ago, you couldn't even mention that word - rock n roll.
I really don't care what people think.
I have been making record for a long time, and I think this band is just the greatest.

It's very punkish.
Yeah, there is a definate punk vibe to it.

Michelle is a funny track!
Yeah, ha ha. You have to have a sense of humour.

Where are you guys based?
We are based in New York.

Are you going to do some touring?
Yeah, we are going to play around. We have already been playing around anyway.

Who else is in the band with you?
Okay, myself on guitar, then Rich Fazzio on drums, Ronnie Gerando on Bass, Brian Crawley on lead vocals.
He is my proteche actually. He is a really young guy, he's 24 years old. He really has a great knowledge of rhythm and blues, and music. But he is on the modern tip of rock n roll.
The cutting edge, or so they say!
And me, I don't really know where I fit in anymore!
After 14 records.

Is that how many you have made now?
Yes! 3 with the dictators, one with Shakin' Street, a French band, 8 with Manowar, the Wild Kingdom record….It just adds up.
And now the Dictators are going to make a new record.

So you are involved with that?
Absolutely! Why not!?
The Dictators have a following in Australia. We get tons of e-mail from there.
I really am looking forward to one day coming to Australia.
You hear so much about it.

Just going back a little, what happened to Heyday?
Well, we did our thing. We were trying to sell apples, when everyone was buying oranges. Our timing was not great.
If we came out two years or three years sooner than that, it would probably have been huge.

It got great reviews though. Did you manage to ship a few copies via mail order?
Yes we did. We did quite well with it.
People are still coming up to me with it to autograph.

Thanks for the update Ross.
You got it, bye!

Journey - Jonathan Cain (1997)

Despite many of you probably thinking this was going to be another routine Q and A, and considering that Jonathan had already stated there were things he 'Could not discuss', I think the interview you are about to read will surprise you.

Jonathan was quite open and honest with his answers, and I think let a few things slip over the course of the interview. At least, for once, we now know where things stand with one of the great bands of the era.

So how are things!
Oh, pretty good.

Journey is still regarded today as the cornerstone of the AOR genre.
People have said that, and we are flattered that people are still enjoying our music, and it's pretty cool that the records are continuing to do well.

Congratulations on Trial By Fire.
Yeah, we like that very much. It was kinda a labor of love. We just got together and wanted to do it the way we thought we should do it.
We thought there was a kind of a void there.

I think it's a great album.

Something I did notice about the album – everybody gets to shine somewhere.
Yeah, we tried to do that. We really thought about featuring everyone this time.
You know, everyone has played so much on their own, as solo artists, it seemed almost like we had to go that way.
And yeah, I don't think there were too many solos. There was a lot of guitar solos on this record, but Neal had a lot to pay.

They blended in so well. And you had a couple of fantastic keyboard/piano solos.
Thanks, yeah. We had a really good producer this time in Kevin Shirley.
He was stunning. He had a lot to do with the arrangements, and we worked hard with him.
We were done with the basics in about two and a half weeks. It was pretty amazing.
It was all live, we played live at the site. We had these isolation rooms for the drums, and guitars and keyboards even. But we could see each other and played live. Most of the record you hear is live.
The overdubs are just little things here and there. You know, like backing vocals and a lot of the vocals.
Steve kept some of the things we did live.

Disappointed you haven't been able to tour on the back of it?
Yeah, it's been frustrating for us. It's because of unforeseen events. Sort of like the hand of God comes down, and has hit Steve with arthritis in the hip and in the neck.

What actually happened to Steve?
Well, it (the arthritis) just really attacked him. And it has taken his hip and swollen it up and the joints and everything else.
So that's really it. He has gone for therapy to try to get better. To have surgery would really be ideal, but I don't think he's ready for it to go to that extreme.

That is pretty drastic.
Yeah, and you know, it's not getting better. It's like Eddie Van Halen needs it too.
The only way he will go out is with a real hip, so go figure.
If you really want to do it bad enough, you know, you get it done.
It has been over a year now, and he hasn't gone and got it done. And It's his body and we can't say anything about it.
It's frustrating for us, because we were sort of left at the alter with the dress on.

That's what I am hearing.
Yeah, frustrating, but it's an act of God, and what are we going to do.
We are just disappointed that we missed out on some great opportunities.
The album is just part of it. Just a small part of it.
We could have sold four times the amount of records. It came out, then nothing much happened.
We just didn't want to disappoint the fans. I think, number one is that we knew there were a lot of our friends waiting for us to come, and I think that is the most disappointing thing.

A major part of the e-mail and feedback I have received is why hasn't anyone been able to find out what's going on.
Well, he hasn't come forward. You know, we tried to get him to come forward with some television and talk about the problem and what he is going through. Just share it with everybody, tell the fans what's up and come out and sing a little bit. Sit on a stool or something, and tell people what's going on.
We had an opportunity to all these television programs and he passed on all of them, the American Music Awards and everything.
It was really sad.
We all wanted to do these things, but we couldn't. that's the end of that, and I don't know what we are going to do now.

That's the rest of the questions. What's next?
We are in limbo really. That's all I can tell you.
We are all doing solo projects, and you know, everyone is just moving on with their life.

It took me about 6 months just to get that out of Irving Azoff!
Everything has been really secretive.
Well, we have been waiting for something to resolve, and see what Steve should do. But you really can't force somebody to go that way.
There is enough pressure on him as it is. You know, the record company has put the pressure on him. We just leave him alone.
We feel sad for him, but jeez, what are you going to do?
It's his life, his body, his thing.
You go to a certain point, and go what do we do now?
We are going to have some meetings and so forth.
But there has been talk about possibly a live compilation from '81 to '87. Some of that stuff. The stuff the box set didn't get. There was a lot of neat stuff just sitting in the can. People have been asking about live Journey, so we thought we could do that.
Sort of put that out in the interim, and maybe we can come up with a plan.
That's probably what's going to happen next. We are moving towards that.
I don't know what else to tell you. It's frustrating.
I have another album coming out in Spring, that's a new age album.

Is that 'Songs In The Key Of The Heart'?
Yeah, actually we changed it. It's called 'For A Lifetime' and we are just fixing to get the cover ready.
It's a wedding album for lovers and so forth. There is an instrumental version of Open Arms, it's really tender kind of romantic piano music that I have collected over the years, for my friends.
I am playing at a wedding New Years Eve, for a friend of mine. I have been doing this for fun over the years, and have written a bunch of songs, and I thought it would be a lovely kind of souvenir to have out there.
So we are putting that out, that's going to be exciting. Neal's got something coming out, I think it's called 'Piranha Blues'. It is a combination of guys. It's Prairie Prince an Ross Valory and he's got a blues singer from LA.
I have just mixed that here at the studio, and that's going to be on his own label, or an Internet thing. And I am supposed to do another solo vocal album.

Great, I love 'Back To The Innocence'.
Thanks, it will kinda be like that. That is going to be on a little label called Mystic, distributed by BMG.
The Steve Smith is on the road with his new album. I haven't heard it yet, but I know it's probably really good. That's a jazz album. He's touring now with that.
I think that may be out or about to be released.
We have all been pretty busy really.

There sure is some talent in the band isn't there?!
Yea, it's a pretty good band! We just keep busy. I was trying to get a jazz tour together with Smith and Neal. But Neal wants to play the blues, so he is going to do that.
Then I will probably promote my wedding CD.
Actually South Africa wanted me to come and play, so I am not sure if I am going to do that.

That's almost as far away as Australia!
Yeah, that's a ways. I wanted to hit Australia. Maybe one of these days I will get a chance to get there.

Can I throw a big question at you? I have heard you may be looking for a new lead singer.
Is that right? You heard that already?

Yeah, I have.
That is unbelievable. You know, right now, we really can't say, because there is so much stuff up in the balance. And Steve hasn't really signed off yet. So until he really decides that he doesn't want to.
We still want Steve number 1, and we are just giving him a little bit of space here to see what he wants to do.
So that's really the truth, in the interim that's what we are doing.
We owe it to him and ourselves to give him a little space and check it out, and if he's into it, and really wants to come back.
And if he doesn't, we will face those consequences.

You will have to go on maybe?
Well, everybody has worked hard to make this band a success and we feel the music is powerful and has a lot of life left to it. I feel that, the band still feels that.
If the band sounded old and tired, it wouldn't even be a consideration, but the band sounds so darn good. It would be a shame to let it go to waste.
We'll see.
Ultimately, it will be Steve's choice to carry on or not with the band.
We are hoping that's what he decides to do. But it is something you don't want to rush.
That's funny that the rumors are out already.
At this stage in the game, we are hoping he changes his mind.

Okay Jonathan, thanks very much for taking the time out to talk.
Nice talking to you, take care and thanks for calling.

What I haven't printed here was a little side conversation where Jonathan asked if I had seen Kevin Chalfant's web site and did I know where he could find it.
Indeed I did, and have since passed to him Kevin's website and his e-mail address. Interesting!


Rick Springfield (1997)

Rick's first ever online interview - Interviewed via phone end of June 1997.
Keep an eye out for two exclusive sound bytes, from two tracks left off Sahara Snow!



Rick was born Richard Springthorpe, in Sydney Australia in 1949.
His father was a career soldier, with Rick growing up on army bases around the country.
He received a guitar for his thirteenth birthday, and described his love of playing as 'as hard core as you get at sixteen'.
His first band 'The Jordy Boys' played regularly in the rough pubs of Melbourne, leading him to leave school and join his first full time rock band 'Rock House'.
They earned a reputation strong enough to be invited to play to troops in Vietnam, during the late 60's.
Back in Australia, Rick moved into the now legendary pioneering Australian rock act 'Zoot'. He joined with Beeb B, who went onto join Little River Band, and Daryl Cotton, who went onto form the also now legendary Sherbet.
Zoot soon became one of the biggest acts in Australia, and had a top 10 single with a cover of 'Eleanor Rigby', styled in the bands' unique relentless pop/rock style.
Rick subsequently won awards for the country's best guitarist and composer.

"I am about due for a trip back home. Matter of fact Daryl Cotton was over here from Zoot, the other day. He brought his family over for a vacation, and they came over to see us.
We talked out doing a Zoot reunion thing".

I still have this great picture of you in a pink jump suit with lovely bell-bottoms!
"Oh my God, scary!"



Rick's debut solo single Speak To The Sky, hit #1 in Australia in 1971, prompting record company interest from the States. He was subsequently signed to the Capitol label, which sent him to London to record his debut album 'Beginnings'.
Originally released during 1971 in Australia, the album was released the following year in the United States, from which a remix of Speak To The Sky reached the top 15.

Rick said at the time, "I raced over there thinking this is it! But things didn't quite work out that way." He went on to describe the next few years as the worst of his life, mainly because he wasn't in control of his direction. The record label was trying to mold Rick into the next David Cassidy.

"Yeah, 'Speak to The Sky' was a hit over here, but it didn't really translate to the album. The album was a bit different, you know marketing me as a teen idol, when the stuff on the record was not what teen idols were doing at the time".

It was a little bit deeper than your average teen idol.
"Yeah, it was a different type of music too".

There was actually a lot more to Rick than your teen idol, as he was not exactly mainstream pop.



The 1973 album 'Comic Book Heroes' proved that. It was critically acclaimed, but commercially did not live up to expectations.
The cover art to 'Comic Book Heroes' remains as legendary today as when it was first released. It featured Rick in a white 'Super Hero' outfit, with a gatefold sleeve that has comic book art for each song title.

Where did the cover concept come from?
"I had always loved comic book artwork. I saw something like that in a magazine and thought I would look good on the album.
It was a little confusing for some people though, cause some people didn't quite get it".

Unfortunately there was also problems with immigration officials, and unhelpful management.
One of those questionable decisions made by management and the label was to take Rick's Comic Book Heroes cover concept and turn it into an animated TV series. Starring Springfield as himself, 'Mission Magic' featured him as a sort of crime fighting super hero, complete with musical soundtrack.



That subsequent soundtrack album 'Mission Magic' was released in 1974.
In keeping with the times, the lead song was titled 'We're Gonna Have A Good Time'.

"Yeah, that was a mistake! Ha ha ha!
I don't know. They started out with all these great ideas of Yellow Submarine, and ended up a Xeroxed version of every other cartoon show on the air. So it was fairly unadventurous and a little disappointing. But it was an exercise for me as far as a writing exercise, a new song every week.
I played myself. It was a very bizarre concept".

I have ever seen it down here.
"It's was played down there actually, strangely enough!"

Was it really? Late night TV or something?!
"I don't know. I got residuals from it for quite a while. It was really strange".

This is where Rick decided he had to get off. Fighting for release from his record label and management contract took two years out of his career.

"Yeah, I took one of my infamous breaks. For about three or four years I was sorting out contractual problems, trying to get out of my contract. I signed everything away when I first came here. I was pretty green. I got taken advantage of in certain ways, signed my life away, then when I wanted to leave it was very difficult.
There was nothing I wanted to do, so I just took the time off.
I kind of made that a habit, a couple of years between albums".



It was a financially strained period, in which Rick was for the best part flat broke.
He continued writing and recording and in 1976 released an album 'Wait For Night' for the Chelsea Records label.

In a bizarre twist, upon the release of the album the label promptly went bankrupt and prematurely closed down his musical career once again.
This time the gap between albums was not to be his own doing.

How did you feel about that whole situation?
"It was pretty traumatic, but I think I was already working on some new stuff, so as long as I am working on new stuff, I have a focus. There were certainly no tell tale signs of it going under, it was a like a complete surprise".

How did you survive during those hard years?
"Err, Girlfriends!"

"Yeah, actually strangely enough, Mission Magic supported me for a decent amount of that time. Residuals from Australia, from the 'Mission Magic' show.
I remember being broke and getting a couple of checks every now and then. That saved my butt. So there is a reason for everything".

At this point Rick began to pursue acting, and was coached by people such as Vincent Chase and Malcolm McDowell.
With a friend he rented a tiny theater in Hollywood to present plays for friends and relatives and anyone else who was interested.
Springfield created sets, costumes and worked out lighting for the plays. A representative of Universal was convinced by one of these plays and singed the actor to a two year contract. What followed was an endless round of guest character appearances on shows like 'Six Million Dollar Man', 'Rockford Files', 'Incredible Hulk', 'Nancy Drew' and 'Wonder Woman'.
At this point Rick was actually faring better as an actor, than as a musician.

Another set of recordings led to further trauma in Rick's life. 'Beautiful Feelings' was originally recorded in 1978. It didn't see the light of day until 1982, when it was released without Rick's approval, or his involvement, excepting the vocals.

"That was an album we couldn't get a deal on. It was the manager I was with.
The next album I did was Working Class Dog then I separated from them and they put that out as kinda, 'Well, we've still got this!'
They took everything off, except for the vocals.
It was some old songs and they just added the horrible Hollywood studio crap".

Continuing with his acting, Rick landed his biggest acting break by becoming a regular on the hit daytime soapie General Hospital, as Dr. Noah Drake.

You were on there for a few years weren't you?
"No, about a year and a half, but it was at a time when it was a really successful show".

Never giving up on music, Rick wrote and recorded new songs, mainly for the reason he needed new material to play live and tour with.
A tape of those songs found it's way to RCA.

"Actually the boss at RCA had always like Comic Book Heroes, it was an album that he had liked. No one wanted to sign me at that point, and they kinda thought about it for a year. And said well, okay let's try it!
I had written a bunch of songs, cause I was getting ready to go out and play 'em, and those songs became the album".

The debut album for RCA, was Working Class Dog, released in 1981.
What was to follow was nothing short of stunning. That year saw Rick's first US number one single in Jessie's Girl, double platinum result for the album, a sold out US tour and a Grammy award for best male vocal.

On the eve of 'Working Class Dog', did you have any idea what was about to happen?
"No, I thought it would go in and out again like the all my other albums. That's why I signed on to Karol (Rick's manager). I was pretty much convinced that it would go on the charts for six weeks in the low one hundreds, and then drop out again, and I would go onto the next album. So it was a big surprise, when it all took off".




You had a quantum leap in the quality of song writing with Working Class Dog.
"Yeah, I did take a leap, and I am not quite sure, I think it did take the pressure off having to write a hit song, that I had been putting myself under that pressure.
At that point, I wrote that album so I could have some songs to go out and play in the clubs.
You know, songs that I could just play the guitar on. We didn't have strings, or big gigantic arrangements, just stripped down pop songs, and I think that is when I began to find a direction that worked for me publicly. I have always been a catchy songwriter. I have always focused on a hook, but it hasn't always necessarily worked publicly".

To me, your songs have hooks galore. There have always been choruses, bridges and layers of melody. It keeps you coming back.
"A lot of my stuff is seen for the surface that it is, not really writing about it on a true level".

However 1981 was not without it's lows. For on the eve of Rick Springfield winning the Grammy for 'Jessie's Girl', Rick's father died back home in Australia.
Norman James Springthorpe gave Rick his first guitar and encouraged and supported Rick through out his career, helping him through the lows of the past few years. It was a blow that would and still does haunt Rick.

More hit singles and a sold out tour started a roller coaster ride that would last four years without a break.
The heavy workload was carried into the recording of the follow up album 'Success Hasn't Spoilt Me Yet'.

"It was a good pop album. It could have been a lot stronger, but I was doing a TV show and touring of a weekend, so I was doing that album at night by running into the studio.
I didn't have the control over that album that I wanted to have, but it had some good songs on it. I think the instrumental direction wasn't quite what I was going for, because I didn't have the input I had previously.
It was probably my least personally involved album, after I had written everything. I played the least amount of instruments on it and I was there for the least amount of time in mixing".

Despite this, the album maintained the high song quality of Working Class Dog, and again spawned more hit singles. 'Don't Talk To Strangers', 'I Get Excited' and 'How Do You Talk To Girls' were all over the radio. Keith Olsen, who had previously worked on 'Jessie's Girl', produced the album.
Because of Rick's heavy commitments, the album featured a couple of covers, a Chas Sandford track, the seventies hit 'Black Is Black' and a new tune written by the hit making machine of Steinberg-Kelly, who have written hits for Pat Benatar and Heart.
Kristina was an original rocker co-written by Rick and long time Bryan Adams writing partner Jim Vallance.
'Success Hasn't Spoilt Me Yet' was another double platinum selling record, and gave Rick a further Grammy nomination.





Always with a tongue in cheek, the record cover featured Rick's dog Ron, who made his debut in a shirt and tie on the 'Working Class Dog' cover. This time around, he sat in the back of a limousine, flanked by two French Poodles.

"I had Ronnie my dog, I just found him. I would go for walks in the neighborhood and women loved him, so I thought I'd put him on the album cover".

And did Ron have a good innings?
"Yeah, he lived till he was thirteen. I miss him very much. I finally got another dog, but Ron is buried in the LA pet park, he has his own stone. I found it very hard to lose him.
He was a spectacular dog".

I am glad to see you still use him on your letterheads!
"Ha ha, yeah, you know I have a corporation still named after him, my publishing is named after him and my touring corporation is named after him".

The legend of Ron the dog lives on!




With no rest for the wicked, 'Living In Oz' was released in 1983.
The style took many by surprise, it was harder edged, more urgent and a more personal record. It was also a noticeably tougher looking Springfield, with the fresh-faced teen idol left behind for an unshaven rocker.
Back to the production team of Springfield and Bill Drescher, the album again sold beyond double platinum mark, and gave Rick his fifth Grammy nomination in three years.

How was the style change received?
"I think a lot of the critics didn't get it because they weren't expecting it, but a lot of the audience did. I gained a lot of male fans because of the style of guitar playing on it. But none of my stuff has ever been particularly well received by critics. In fact the second one, 'Comic Book Heroes' is probably the best review I ever got.
So, you know its kinda no big deal to me now, but it hurt at the time.
A lot of musicians' say that was their favorite album, and to me now it still holds up".

I hear 'Living In Oz' used as a benchmark by a lot of people, for a great album of it's time.
"We had a point, where there were a lot of people involved in it. It was the right combination of people. Mitchell Froom played keyboards on it, Richard Page of Mr. Mister sang backing vocals on it.
Bill Drescher and I did the album completely ourselves. I looked at other producers, who I wanted for that album but I thought fuck it, I'll do it myself.
We had a lot riding on it. I was going to use Keith Olsen, but Bill and I had a vision and we went with it".

You and Bill worked most of your albums in the 80's.
"Yeah, I have always been with Bill. He's actually doing the new record with me".

With the Human Touch single, you must have been one of the first guys to release an extended version of a song.
"Yeah, they were just starting to do that in England, and I was very focused on England at that point.
We did it the hard way, we actually did a long version of that song, and cut it down for the album. It was a fun thing to do".

1984 was a year for risks. 'Hard To Hold' was to be his next project, a movie and an accompanying soundtrack. It was Rick's first foray into acting since he left General Hospital in 1981, and his first solo full-length feature film.



The film starred Rick with Janet Eilber and Patti Hansen.
It centered on a performer who was having trouble writing songs for his new album, and combined with personal problems, was creating conflict within the band.
It was a plot that would later prove more true to life than anyone would have wanted to believe.
The soundtrack featured 7 new Rick tracks, including one instrumental.
The lead single 'Love Somebody' became a huge hit, and comprised a new and fuller rock sound.

What made you decide you wanted to do a movie at that stage?
"Probably ego! More than anything! I did like acting but I didn't like it as much as I do now. But I did like it and thought it was a vehicle, to do more.
But a lot of it was ego The script was not as strong as it could have been.
But I thought, I'll do some songs and make it right. But it was a lot harder than that.

A lot of people liked the album from it.



"It was fun to do, and I have good memories from it".

'Love Somebody' was a huge song.
"For a lot of people, that was a real turning point in my writing".

Not well received critically, 'Hard To Hold' the movie is now a hard to find video, while the soundtrack was deleted in 1986.
Thanks to the US based cult re-issue label Razor and Tie, a digitally re-mastered 'Hard To Hold' debuted on CD in 1995.

The musical climate was changing, and so too did Rick Springfield.
With an album technically and sonically far beyond it's year, 'Tao' was unleashed on the world, late in 1985.
It was a stellar departure from anything Rick had ever tried before. The album was much more experimental and complex than many expected.
It featured a heavy mix of guitar, synthesizer, vocal effects, sampling and drum machines.



What made 'Tao' so outstanding in it's approach?
"We just had a lot of new ideas. It is probably the one I experimented on the most. Whatever I thought of we tried it. It was just when sampling was just starting, we got really into the drum sampling. But we started on just a BMX. A little BMX drum machine, all the original drum tracks were laid down on that, and then we triggered other drum samples from that.
It was built up track by track".

Tao was layers deep in guitars, sampling and vocals.
"There is a lot going on, you can really hear it. We covered it with a lot of guitar and bass. That is still my favorite album".

It is my favourite record also. Did the critics get it?
"No, they though I was trying to be meaningful, which to me was true, but at that point they were just looking for ways to invalidate what ever I did.
It was no big deal.
But people who hear it get it".

Lyrically, it was also a new Rick Springfield. Noticeably darker and more personal than ever before, the audience was given an insight to the personal battles Rick had been fighting.
One of those battles came to light on 'My Father's Chair'. As a heartfelt goodbye to his father, it was the second song about his father's death, ('April 24, 1981' being the first), and Rick said at the time 'I always wanted to write more, because I certainly felt more'.
The tour that supported 'Tao' featured video images on a big screen, of his father and homeland, displayed while Rick soloed on a grand piano.

Several times you have written about your father's death. That was obviously hard on you.
"Still is. My Father's Chair is probably the song that I have written that has gotten the most attention from individuals, as a really meaningful song.
In the end, that is what I write for, that connection with people".

What was to follow Tao, would be one of the toughest periods in Rick's career. Just as the momentum was beginning to build once again, his career came to a grinding halt. Rick fell into a period of writer's block.

When he did come out of it the album 'Rock Of Life' was the result. It was late in 1988.
Featuring the darkest material in his career, 'Rock Of Life' was a moody, introspective and very personal record.



The band had altered somewhat, although long time friend Tim Pierce was still present. Dann Huff and Alan Pasqua (of Giant) were also on board, as was Jeff Silverman.
The title track was released as a single, and the video was the most expensive Rick had ever made.
The sound of 'Rock Of Life' was much more stripped back than the 'Tao' record, although the high tech AOR sound, and the techniques learned while recording 'Tao' were used again.
The album featured another departure from his established sound, with a dancier beat, and a less hard-edged guitar sound.

Three years between 'Tao' and 'Rock Of Life'. Writers block?
"Yeah, major. And then after Rock Of Life again".

The songs on Rock Of Life were amazingly dark.
"Yeah, very dark at that point. That's why I took some time off. It was a pretty dark time".

That is something I have always admired about your lyrics, you are very honest in them.
"Yeah I try to be. I don't really have any other choice. Otherwise I don't really have anything to write about! Ha ha.
I have to write about what is going on inside my head. I just have to start there or I just can't go on".

The demons that Rick fought off to write and record 'Rock Of Life' soon returned. Worse than ever, writer's block forced Rick to abandon any further recording. Instead he turned to his other love - Acting.
The next few years proved to be as busy as ever for Rick, with a full workload of acting projects.
In 1989 he filmed the movies 'Dead Reckoning' and 'Nick Knight'.
In Nick Knight, Rick played a cop with an unusual background. He was a vampire! Only capable of working night shift, he was on a quest to make himself mortal, with the help of a friend on the force.
The made for TV movie was a pilot for what they hoped would become a series.




"Nick Knight would have been good, if they had of continued.
It was originally going to go into a series from that pilot, we were ready to go on with that series, but it got canceled at the last minute.
They eventually picked that up.
Indeed it did, but not until two years later, re-written and without Rick.
It was a cheaper version of the movie, but not with the same style. They put a lot of money into the first one.
Some other TV channels were bringing out shows about baby animals and Doctors living in Hawaii, and cowboys, and they found it a little offensive.
They kicked it off air until it was, I guess they thought until it was a little more politically correct!
It's all a crap chute".

In Dead Reckoning, Rick played a psychotic lover of a married woman, who kill's her husband, and even turns on her. It was the darkest role to date for him, and one that he enjoyed most.
"I liked Dead Reckoning, for the character was a lot different for what I had played at the time".




You were one bad dude!
"Yeah, it was very different. The writing was quite good too, which hasn't been the case with some of the acting things I have done. Ha ha.
I am a bit more of a whore with my acting than I am with my music! In fact I am not a whore with my music, but I am with my acting.
I have kinda accepted that!"

So your sacredness is saved for your music.
"I think I am okay with my priorities on that".

There were other movies over the next couple of years such as 'In The Shadows', 'Change Of Place' and 'Silent Motive'.

There was also a TV series. His first role since General Hospital that wasn't a movie, 'Human Target' was maybe the classiest show Rick has been involved in. In the style of 'Mission Impossible', it was Rick's character's job to come to the rescue of someone in trouble, and using disguises and high tech gadgetry, he had to save them from the threat. Despite the quality, the show unfortunately only lasted the single season.

"That was a lot of fun. It had a lot of promise. Once again the writing wasn't enough to carry it".

Back to movies, 'With Harmful Intent' featured Rick only in a secondary role. As a musician in a faltering marriage, the tension escalates after a car hits his son, and a plot to have his son killed is uncovered.
Rick also appeared in three episodes of the TV series 'Robin's Hoods', filling in for one of the regulars.



While always writing and recording at his home studio, the block had still not fully cleared. At the same time a new TV series was launched, with Rick at the helm.
High Tide has become the longest running series that he has been involved in, now in it's third series. It is a murder/mystery series set on the beach, In what could be best described as 'Murder She Wrote' meets 'Baywatch'.

Has 'High Tide' been a good experience?
"It's pretty good. I like acting a lot".


Well you sure have been involved in a lot of projects. Even now, you have just finished doing a new movie?
"Yeah, Legion. It's a Sci-Fi thing".

Sci-Fi is a little bit different to what you have done in the past.
"Yeah, it was a different part".

High Tide is in its third season. Is that the most successful thing you have done with TV?
"No, I think General Hospital is still the best-known thing. That is what I am most remembered for as far as acting goes".

This whole time, Rick was fighting writer's block, but always recording demo's in his home studio.
During the early to mid 90's, Rick wrote and recorded an array of songs, but until now they have never seen the light of day.
There were sessions with Jeff Silverman, who helped out on the 'Rock Of Life' album, and long time friend Tim Pierce.
With Pierce, Springfield had the idea of forming a band project with a harder edge sound. Piece called in friend Bob Marlette, and a union was formed.
More than a dozen songs were written and recorded, but a release was never seriously considered until recently, when Sahara Snow was born.



The Sahara Snow record was conceived after Magnus Sodverkist, a long time contact of Rick, had formed a new label in Europe - MTM Music.
He approached Rick at the prospect of releasing a collection of these demos as a record.
Rick agreed, but not wanting to class it as a solo record, or a full studio album, it was agreed the project would be given a band name.

"It was just sitting around and, Magnus from MTM wanted to put it out, so I said yeah".

How does it feel to have a new record coming out?
"Um, I don't know - it's not like it's a solo record though. It was fun putting it together. I had a lot of fun putting it together. I had to assemble it all again, remaster it, and re-mix a couple of things. It was fun doing that, cause I love that part of the process".

The album consists of two tracks from the Springfield/Silverman sessions, eight tracks from the original Springfield/Pierce/Marlette sessions, and two new songs. These new tracks come from two different sessions Rick has been involved in while recording a new solo record.
The track 'Stranger' is co-written with AOR heavy weight Mark Spiro, and is from solo sessions in 1996, while 'Lust' is from the latest 1997 sessions.

The label cut the album down to 12 tracks, from 14.
"Yes it is. What we have left off is 'Why Don't You Dance' and 'Love Receiver'.

Oh no, I thought 'Love Receiver' was hilarious!
"Ha ha ha".

That was a great tune! Lyrically very funny!
"I don't think the Germans got it! Ha ha".

Well I am glad I have a copy of it. Not politically correct?
"Yeah, maybe!"

It has been a busy 18 months for Rick. There have been a number of projects, including staring in the new movie 'Legion', the mixing and re-mastering of the Sahara Snow tapes, and recording the new solo record.
That above everything, is where all Rick's passion and energy has been focused.
With the block cleared, we have back the classic Rick Springfield of old.

Lyrically, how are the new songs? Dark again?
"Err, there is some darkness, but it is not from the same dark place. Ha ha.
It is from a lighter perspective now".

So you are happy with things then?
"Yes, I went through a pretty dark period".

You have had some great ups and downs during your career.
"Yeah I think that's what makes you. I want to be around for a long time, doing what I love to do. I have been through my share of valleys. I am waiting for the peaks!"

For the first time since his solo records in the seventies, the new record features Rick writing, producing, and playing all the instruments himself.
And the lyrics are back to their haunting personal best, with all the angst of the battles he has faced woven into every line.
A small hint of what is to come can be found on the final track of the Sahara Snow record, 'Lust'. It was one of the last tracks finished, just prior to the mastering of the Sahara Snow disc.
It is a new sound for fans to get used to, a stripped back guitar driven pop rock sound, back to the hard edged guitar of Working Class Dog and even Living In Oz.

"It will be out this year. Late this year or early next year.
I may be putting it out on my own label, I'm not sure yet".

The lyrical tone throughout the upcoming record tells the tale of Rick's journey through his career, of the high's and the lows. It is a life-spanning tale of personal glories and regrets, and will give fans an insight never before imagined, even more so, than the lyrics of 'Rock Of Life'.
It is something to truly look forward to.


Heartland - Chris Ousey (1997)


How are you mate?

Not bad. I haven't been out of bed long, I take a while to run on all cylinders, you know!

How's things?
Okay, not bad. We've done a couple of weeks in Germany. It has taken me a week to get over that, we did a lot of travelling. It has been great.

And you are just resting in between projects right now?
We are going to start the next Heartland record in the studio in mid January. I have just got maybe one more tune to write.
Apart from that I am not flogging it at the moment.

How has the Distance project faired up?
I am really pleased with it actually. It's gone a hell of a lot better than I thought it would. Not that I didn't think the songs were good to begin with, but I was kind of nervous to start a new project.
I hadn't met the guy before.

Yeah, I knew very little about Kenny before hand. The thing just came about, because I was half way through writing the next Heartland record with Steve Morris and Steve had to break off for a little while to be in Ian Gillan's solo band.
So I had a kind of dead period, and I didn't want to stop writing because I find it difficult once I have stopped to get started again.
Escape music here wanted to know if I fancied doing a sort of solo record. And I thought that is a little unfair, as I always work with somebody else, and the idea of putting it out as a solo record when it is pretty obvious it is a joint project seemed to me a bit unfair.
I heard the Pokerface record, which I really liked, and I just fancied the change.
To get out of the country for a little while and do something different gave me a new slant on the Heartland stuff as well. It is good to do something else.

I have enjoyed the Heartland records. But as soon as I played this record I was blown away. The power, the guitar. It was a lot more in your face.
Yeah, there was definitely a change. I think it even has a little of the Canadian sound. It is a little bit more basic, and gave me a lot more scope to get a lot more attitude into it.

It is a rocking album!
We are definitely going to do another one.
Apart from everything else, I really enjoyed working with Kenny.
You always hope that everything you work on will be a commercial success, and it seems to be doing well, but when it comes down to it, it's whether you enjoy doing it, and I had a great time.

You sound like you are enjoying it.
Absolutely. I went over (to Vancouver) for 10 days to do the vocals and it was great to walk into the studio and have everything ready for you.
I don't particularly like studio's. For me going into the studio is like going to the dentist!
It is just not a very creative place for me. I like to have everything completely finished before I go in, so I can go strait for it.
Kenny has a nice little ranch up in the hills, so there are no disturbances.

Hard for some I guess!!!
Actually it pissed down most of the week.

Ha ha.
Yeah, it rained something rotten. But I live in Manchester, which is known as the rainy city, but Vancouver can take some beating!

Has the album been received well?
Yeah, I shouldn't really be surprised, but it has.
I took Kenny over to Germany for two weeks; we did an acoustic thing over there.
I went with Steve and Kenny so we could do some of each band acoustically.
It was great to go from one to the other.
We did some TV spots which were good.
I think with AOR, you have to try and keep the standard up. There are a lot of albums kicking about that aren't great, but aren't bad either. It is hard to keep up the standard.

Something I am curious about. You along with fellow UK rockers TEN have been pumping out new material at an awesome rate. Do you keep yourself busy recording all the time?
Yeah, I think a lot of that is that we are working with a smaller label.
With my last deal at A&M, the wheels grind really slowly. It's not that bands don't have enough material, or don't want to put records out, it's more the fact that when you have a major deal - because there is so much investment in each record, things grind forward so slowly.
With an independent record company the whole thing just moves much quicker. You get on the phone and ask for something, and it is done.

That must be enjoyable.
Yeah it's great. Escape have a great deal of enthusiasm.

How about Virginia Wolf?
I always enjoyed working with Nick Bold. He was incredibly prolific.
You would leave him in a room for a couple of hours and come back, and he would have four songs ready for you.
He was one of those guys that didn't seem to sleep.
I miss working with him.
I have not spoken to him for about three years. He was madly keen on learning the piano when I saw him last. He loves a challenge.
I hope he is still in the business.

That first record is one of my all time favourites.
Right, the first album as a good live album also. It was good to play live.
I think if anything, that was one of the problems. When we put the first record out and did some touring, it felt really good.
The record company were right behind us, Atlantic in America.
We put the second album out, and although it was a great studio record, it was hard to put over live. It didn't have the same easy flow as the first record.
I think at that time, what we needed was another really good live record.
We stumbled a bit around then.

What happened after that?
We lost the deal with Atlantic, and that was back I the days when none of us were particularly experienced, we thought once we lost the deal, that that was it.
Which looking back was really stupid!
A band is a band, and you go from deal to deal, you know.
We took it as a bit of a blow and Nick took it bad, as he felt he has worked really hard on the second album, and I think he was just very very disappointed.

And from there, a couple of years later, Heartland was formed.
Yeah, I was friend with a guy for years called Gary Sharpe, and I knew he had a home based studio.
He was one of the first guys into that. We kind of juts naturally drifted together.

It was a pretty soft album. Great soft AOR.
Yeah, I think you have to be critical of it, a lot of people say it is over produced, which is fair enough.
It is difficult to get hold of now, people are now looking for it.
A&M had an open wallet when it came to that one, they really liked the songs, and were looking for a band like us at the time, and went for it.
I actually got a lot of satisfaction at the time when the second record Wide Open came out, which was just working demo's anyway.
People were kind of saying the second album, that had absolutely no money thrown at it, and we were getting the same sort of reviews.
It just taught me that it is the songs that matter.
What I am trying to say is that you can throw as much money at a record, but a bad record is always going to be a bad record, no matter what how much money is involved.

How about Virginia Wolf on disc then?
It is possible. I was asked that in Germany. At the moment Escape are looking into that. I will keep you posted!

And the next Heartland record?
Yeah, I would like the next album to have even more depth to it. It will sound well produced, and I always want to put a little more into the songs. More going on.
That will keep going in the same direction as the last one.

Maybe we can talk again when the next Heartland comes out.
For sure mate. Good luck with the web page.

Thanks Chris for calling.
No worries. Bye.




Steve Stevens (1997)

Steve Stevens is the guitar talent behind Billy Idol, Michael Monroe, Vince Neil and of course his own Atomic Playboys. Now he has teamed with the legendary Terry Bozzio and Tony Levin to create a power trio and the album 'Black Light Syndrome'.
Here is Steve talking about a few aspects of his career to date.

Hey Steve, how's it all going?
Very well thanks.

What are you in the middle of right now?
Actually I am doing a solo record. It has dance music underneath the rock style, with lots of odd loops and ethnic percussion. Very trance like.

That sounds like a big departure!
Yeah, it's different, but it works though.

Who is that going to be for?
It's for Myles Copeland, who is Sting's manager, he has a new instrumental based label called arc 21.

I have heard of Copeland's castle in France, and Jack Blades hangs out with him also.
That's right, yeah he has a song writing retreat once a year in France.

Hard life isn't it?
Yeah, ha ha.

So how has the response for Black Light Syndrome been?
I think well. Based on the fact that it is released on a very small label, so with that in mind, it has done pretty well.

It is a pretty musically intense record.

Yeah, ha ha. It was intense for us too. Knowing that we only had four days to record it.

What, the whole record?

Four days! How did you record then? Loosely?
Absolutely. The only thing that I could determine as pre-production was that Terry Bozzio and I got together before we went into the studio. I went out to Austin Texas where Terry lives just to jam.
But the three of us had never played in the same room before, so what you hear on the record, is pretty much a documentation of what went on in the studio.

There are some very long tracks on there.
Yeah, we debated with the idea of making some of the tracks shorter, and we actually attempted some edits, but in the context of the kind of record it is, it just didn't work.
It just seemed foolish. If people are going to be into that kind of record, the fact that there are tracks 10 and 12 minutes long – either people are going to like it or they aren't!

The length of the songs isn't going to change that, eh?
Yeah, it's not everyone's cup of tea, but those who are going to get into it, I don't think they are going to complain.

Was it nice for you to have a free reign?
Yeah, kind of.
I think the kind of glue that holds that record together, was the mutual respect we all have for each other.

You all have great résumé's.
It could have been horrible though, if it was three guys there just to show off.
I think there is some self restraint involved though!

Yeah, you all get a fair share of the limelight on the album.
Right, I would hope not.

I must ask you, as I have been asked this, and am curious myself – are you going to make another big hard rock record?

Er, no. not in the near future.

Really? Been there, done that?
Um, yeah, I have worked with a number of artists that are known for that. The only kind of pop/hard rock record I would even contemplate doing is another Billy Idol record.
And, unfortunately that doesn't look like it it's going to happen.

Okay, I was going to lead into that. How is the old boy?
Um, I really couldn't say right now, at this point. We still speak occasionally and we are on good terms. But for myself, I like to be productive, and I like to challenge myself.
And to go back and try and re-create something that happened 10 years ago doesn't interest me at this point.

You two got back together a couple of years ago for another record. What happened to that?
We attempted to, yeah.

What happened? Did it fall over?
Basically, there were no songs. I don't know where Billy is at currently, but at the time that I was asked to comeback and work with him, there was nothing to work with.
And unless an artist really wants to make a record, or has something to say – all the fucking great guitar playing in the world ain't going to change that fact there are no songs.
So I had to step aside and take on other avenues.

I have a fantastic live unplugged tape of you guys doing Rebel Yell one New Years Eve. I have never heard acoustic guitar played like that in my life. It was incredible! I would love the full gig.
Ha ha, right. It went live out over the radio stations. The set was 45 minutes I guess.

Any chance of a live album at some stage?
Mmmm, I don't know.

What about your Atomic Playboy's album? That's fairly legendary.
What, legendarily bad?!!

Absolutely not!
Really, that's surprising – I can't listen to it!

You can't?
Yeah, it's probably the least favourite record I have ever recorded. I do like the instrumentation, but there are a number of reasons that I don't like that record.
It was one the first record I was involved with that was recorded digitally, and I find the overall sound of that record really harsh. Not pleasing.
Secondly, I think the singer on that album is kind of awful.
I spent the better part of 2 years looking for a singer for that album.

Ha ha, and he hasn't been seen since.
No, it was really tough. Every singer that I approached may have been okay, but they had this specter of Billy Idol hanging over their heads, and they just got really nervous. Ha ha
Sometimes people just have to be themselves, and not worry about what I have done before, or whatever.

How may did you approach?
Well, I listened to probably 150 tapes.

Of different singers?
Yeah. I remember at the time John Sykes of Whitesnake was looking for a singer as well. So he and I would swap tapes.

I just got his new record actually.
What's that like?

Good. It's all ballads, but still rather good. Like yourself, he has a very distinctive sound.
I tell you what I did like, and that's Jerusalem Slim.
Oh right, not many people have heard that actually.

Yeah, it didn't get a wide release.
There are some interesting things on it. What was enjoyable was the drummer on that record Greg Ellis has since become a very good mate of mine.
I saw him playing in a club with a band called Shark Island. I brought him into do that record and we have maintained a really good friendship. He is actually going to help me out on my solo record.
So there were good things about it. I don't think it was the right record for Michael Monroe.

It was a departure in sound for him.

But I enjoyed working with producer Michael Wagner also. There is a shit load of guitar on that record. I think that is what made Michael very uncomfortable.
I think he is used to working with guitar players that are a bit more simple.

One of the other artists you worked with is Vince Neil.
Right, yeah.

That was probably the better type of record for your guitar sound. Did that fit in with his plans?
You know, the first song has a bloody 2 minute guitar solo in it!!
Yeah, I know ha ha. I kept saying to him, shouldn't we shorten these things up a little? He was said no.

So he was cool for it?

Did you enjoy working with Vince? I imagine there was a little ego involved?
Not really, you know. I prefer to work with people that if their name is going to be on the album cover, you would expect them to take more control over it all.
He kind of left it up to other people around him.
I guess he is used to that with Motley Crue, where the other three guys kind of pull things together.
So you know, what ever people are comfortable working with. But I really like working with musicians that get in your face.

What's Billy Idol like to work with? You have made more records with him than anyone.
Yeah, when it was working well it was great. When it wasn't it was awful.
And I think you can tell by the records. With Rebel Yell – there was a real magic involved, and with the subsequent record Whiplash Smile, there wasn't.

The intensity wasn't there like it was before.
Well, the logic kind of defied the record. With Rebel Yell, it was a real live band; a real bass player and backing tracks were recorded live.
Then you go to a little drum machine, synthesizer record. Electronic in a bad way.
There are electronic records that I really like, for instance Tangerine Dream.
But that has attitude and environment.
Whiplash Smile was largely the reason I left Billy. After doing that record, my guitar style just didn't match where he was going.

And he continued along that path, until no one was really interested.
Yeah, whenever he has done that he has failed miserably.
I don't think people really dig that.

I have seen you live once. With Vince Neil at the Canada Day festival in Ontario in 1993. That was one wild show.
Yeah, it was a great day. I enjoyed that show. Good fun.

You guys were the first not be booed or hassled off stage apart from Kim Mitchell.
Ha ha.

Anything else you would like to do in the future?
Well, hopefully I am working on doing those things now. I played last night in LA with techno act Moby, and it was just an absolutely fantastic experience for me.
I have been making records for 15 years and how many times can I get excited about setting up to play. It was a whole new thing for me, trying to blend my style with this type of music. Heavy grooves over a trance beat.

How did it go down with the crowd?
Fantastic actually. Just fantastic. They are saying they are big fans of mine, so I would have never expected that.

And touring plans?
Definitely with my new solo record.

How about with Black Light Syndrome?
There is talk of another record, and I think we will tour on that, when there is more material to play.

And when might your solo record come out?
Tentatively June in Japan. And August in the States.

Good luck with everything Steve. And don't forget to do a rock record sometime!
Alright Andrew, thanks!

Beggars & Thieves (1997)



How are you guys?Ron: Good – Me and Louis are here.
Louis: Hey!

Where are you guys?
R: We are in Vegas, our family lives out here and we are here rehearsing.
Putting the second record together.

L: Yeah, writing new songs for the new record, and seeing what's going on in Europe.

It seems to be moving there, rather than anywhere else, eh?
R: Well yeah.

So are you happy with the second record?
R: Yeah. You have our first record too do you?

Yeah, I Iove that record! It was an original sound you know.
R: Thank you.

Your first record come out, it went well for you didn't it?
R: Yeah, pretty well.

And the same old story – what happened to the label after that?
R: Well, interestingly, we were with the management company, and we did a tour, and the first record was beginning to do well, then Atlantic kinda dropped the ball.
L: Well - the classic story, our man at the label left.
R: He left before the album came out. So we were held for a while, it was really frustrating, there was nothing we could do. And then finally we got off the label, and they agreed to let us go, and we got picked up by Epic.
Actually, we had the deal waiting and they held on to us for like six months.

L: They wouldn't drop us. They were dropping bands left right and center.
R: We did good enough to the point they wanted to keep us, but not good enough to where we were happy with the situation. So we sat around and waited and waited and finally got off the label, then signed with Epic.
Then we wrote and went up to Vancouver and worked with Jim Vallance, and made the second record up there. And then the same situation happened, where our A&R guy left the label at epic. They all play musical chairs!
Unfortunately people keep getting caught in the middle.

How frustrating was that?
R: Well, very frustrating.
L: Yeah, pretty frustrating. Fortunately the record did get released though.
R: Yeah, we just happy that it was able to come out.
Thanks to Magnus.

How many years since it was recorded? Three or something?
R: Yeah, three years.
L: Seems like 30!!

I bet!! That is a long time to sit on a record.
R: Oh yeah, the whole process has been incredibly frustrating.

Was does a band do in that situation, to pay the bills?
R: Well Louis sings and I write and produce. So we are lucky that we are able to make a living in the music business.
L: Session singer and stuff like that.
R: We have been able to survive and now there is a little bit of energy in Europe and we are putting together the new album and we will take it as it comes.
We would like to go over to Europe and play, maybe do dome acoustic shows.

L: Yeah, those shows are fun.

Is there any sign of 'Look What You Create' coming out in the States?
L: Not yet.
R: No, we are shopping it around a little bit.
Like you said, it has been over three years, it is kinda hard to even think in terms of it coming out.
We might do another album for Europe and put together a record between those.

I guess it is better just to move on….
R: The thing is, as an artist and a band, you progress, you can only hold on to something for so long.
L: That was a statement of where we were three years ago.

It sounds as fresh as yesterday to me!
R: Why thank you.
L: It was well recorded, that's for sure. We spent a lot of time recording with Jim Vallance, who is an extremely talented guy. Something good today, should be good three years from now.
It has a sort of timeless quality to it.

With the original recordings, there are five extra tracks that didn't make the final cut. Where did they come from?
R: Did you get the advance tape?

Yeah, I think!
L: I know what you got!
R: The album that got released was the exact same album from Epic. You may have an advance copy that has other tracks. Our plans when Magnus got involved in it, was to put two new songs on it, and keep the old record the way it was. But epic wouldn't allow that. The record had to be exactly as it was, even in sequence.
It went from them not wanting the record at all, to making sure it stayed the record it was, so if it did do something, they would make money.
Yeah, if the record did do something, they could release it in America, and they would have it in that exact form.
The album as originally completed is as it is now.
We recorded a lot of other songs with Jim Vallance that may show up on our new album. Not all those songs made the Look What You Create album.
We cut like 15 or 16 songs for the album.

The album has a much stronger bluesier tone.
Was that due to management pressures?

R: That was one aspect of what we were doing.
I wouldn't say they pressured us into being bluesier, we probably wrote a couple more blues songs.
With the final song selection, they went with a lot more of the laid back blues songs.

L: They tried to focus it a bit more.

As far as anthems, you don't get much bigger that No More Broken Dreams or Beggars And Thieves!
L: Yeah, we have bittersweet and blue on the new album.

I love that track.
L: Yeah, it is one of my favorites also. I thought my head was going to blow up when I sang it!

Ha ha. I must compliment you on your voice Louis! It is fantastic.
L: Thank you. I though I was going to pass out!
Not bad for a guy who has only been singing three months. Ha ha.

Ha ha.
How do you get a song like that out?

L: Well there were times I felt so much blood rushing to my head, I felt dizzy!
We had to stop, and I had to take a few minutes!

And a huge guitar sound. Where did that evolve?
R: I have always been into orchestrating with guitars. All my influences were guitar players that did that. Jimmy page, The Edge.
Both Louis and me have a lot of studio experience. We love to play live and have done a lot of that, but we both come from the studio and spend a lot of time there, so are comfortable with that.

Who is in the band now?
R: Well we are working with a drummer Les Warner from the Cult, and a bass player who worked with George Lynch.
L: Unfortunately the drummer who played on the record passed away.
Bobby Chouinard. It was the last record he did.

That's too bad.
R: Yeah, he used to play with Billy Squier. He was one of the first drummers sampled by the hip hop community.
L: A great drummer.
R: He was the kind of drummer you didn't have to say how or what to play, he just went off.
We actually dedicated the record to him.

How about a style for the third album?
L: No matter what Ron and I do together, it is pretty much going to come out as what we do. Basically it ends up being Beggars And Thieves.
We have never jumped on a bandwagon, cause we do what we do. To try and be something you are not I think, is a waste of time.

R: We are what we are. We may experiment with different approaches and different sounds, or maybe different grooves, but we not going to change that much. We may do it little different or a little better.
L: We are not going to become new wave or alternative.

When might we see the third record?
R: I don't know. We will probably beginning to do some recording in the fall. We are talking to Magnus, and it may be out at the beginning of next year.

Well it has been a pleasure talking to you.
L: Thanks for your time Andrew.

My pleasure, thanks for giving me the interview.
R: Take care man.
L: Later Andrew.







c.1997 Hot Spot.







John Waite (1997)

I am preaching to the converted in describing John Waite as a legend. The former singer for the Baby's, Bad English, and producer of five very fine solo records, is about to unleash his sixth solo record. It promises to break more new ground for a singer who has had his ups and downs, but is currently riding high with enthusiasm.
I chose to leave the interview in it's original format, rather than into a life story, because as a conversation it was relaxed and light hearted - mostly! See what you think.....


John, how are you!
Andy baby!

How are you doing?
I am very well. Thank you. How are you?

Great! It is an honor to speak to you. Thank you for taking my call.
It's all right mate! How's Australia?

Good actually.
Where abouts are you?

I am in Hobart, Tasmania. Almost at the bottom of the earth.

It's about 6am and it's fairly cold. How's New York?
Stinking hot – we are right in the middle of summer, so it's stinking hot.

How are you these days?
Great, boiling also! I have just finished a record, and it is about another 3 weeks until the single comes out so I am watching a lot of videos and going for long walks.

Relaxing before the storm?
Yeah, kinda I guess. It's New York. I am used to it, so I try and keep busy.

How is the new label for you?
Well it's been great. It is a major label. It is like being back on Epic, but it's hipper, because they have got more adventurous acts. I think Mercury is a great company and it is interesting, it is good to be with a major label.
My last record was on a smaller label, 'Temple Bar'. And that was difficult because as soon as I started to have a hit – because I had a major hit with that record in America - but as soon as it went to the top of the charts the record company folded.
It was very difficult.

You sure had some problems with the label.
Yeah, it was a bit hard to take.
But hey, I survived it and at least I got to make a really good record. I love that record, it was a good record.

I love that record too.
Thank you. Thanks very much.
It's great to be back with a fresh start, I am very happy at the moment.

You have some great guys with you on this record.
Yeah, it's the exact same band as last time, only this time around I am producing.
And I used the same engineer as the last record, Tony Phillips.
Tony engineered the whole thing and mixed it for me.
It was very easy to work with these guys, cause three of them are English and two of them worked in Rod Stewart's band for 10 years.
It is like everybody has basically got on foot in Blighty, you know!

With producing the record yourself, did that give you more control over everything?
Well, I controlled the last one. It's just that this time around I was going for a clearer sound. I decided to do what the Beatles did with 'Get Back' and take all the fur of it and lets see it in very black and white terms, and keep everything live. We didn't want any effects on any of the instruments and, all the vocals are dry, and for the most part it is very live indeed.
And there is a slight country influence because I was going for something that was really roots that wasn't going to be rock so much, like blazing guitar solo's and that wall of sound thing. I wanted to get back to something like a cross between Hank Williams and Jimi Hendrix. I am not really sure what I am trying to get at, but I wanted the songs to speak more than the performance. The songs were more important than the ego's involved in making them.

You covered a Hank Williams tune on the last record.
Yeah, well I have had a strong interest in that kind of music for a while now, that song that followed 'Missing You' on the 'No Brakes' album…

'Restless Heart'…
Yeah, its just returning to those kind of roots. It is not such an extension, it's just cutting back the dead wood again.

The lyric quality on Temple Bar was unbelievable, but I will get back to that in a minute. How about on the new album? What style have you been writing in?
I have tried to get away from the first person a bit, but I found myself…..it's very much that still. I think 'Temple Bar' was about arriving at an older age and being sort of trying to coexist with all these past lives I have had - being in New York City, being divorced and trying to make a life for myself. And now I think these songs are about arriving at that place and continuing my life. The last album was the beginning of a new life for me. This album has a sense of an autobiographical twist to it, but I did go outside myself and try and write songs about other people.
Which is an interesting also slightly country twist.

Can I ask you about a couple of the titles on 'When You Were Mine'.
Yeah, sure.

'Suicide Life' stands out as an interesting tune.
Is that a necessarily bleak track?
Ha ha ha. It has a double meaning, because the album was originally titled 'Suicide Life', but my manager talked me out of it. And now it is called 'When You Were Mine', which is the single also.

A little more marketable?
Yeah, ha ha. I still would like 'Suicide Life', but I can see his point.
When I was with Bad English I was staying in a Holiday Inn on Highland in Los Angeles.

Yeah, know it well! (One of my favorite LA areas!)
Yeah, just by Hollywood Boulevard. I had been up all night, and I was looking out the window at this bleak smog skyline and the blazing heat outside, and I always have this strange feeling about that end of Hollywood.
I used to go for Martini's at night at this restaurant down there, and pass all these people that arrived in Hollywood and got lost. Even when the Baby's first arrived in Hollywood, there was this guy I kept seeing – a burnt out guy about 33, big beard, straggly hair, obviously schizophrenic, on the streets with no shoes, and I used to buy food for him every now and again. And I used to see him every three or four years. And you begin to wonder where these people exist and how they got where they got to.
Because they were just a baby at one point, you wonder what they felt, how did they get on this strange trip. A lot of it has to do with drugs, and a lot of it is just about being plain fucked up. But that 'Suicide Life' is about people that took the trip and never came back.

'Bluebird Café' – after the reference to the Temple Bar - is that where you hung out during the recording of this album?!!
Pubs that I know kinda thing?! No, Bluebird Café is a small café in Nashville where young hopefuls go play their songs on this stage their, they sort of audition for the rest of Nashville, and it's like where you get your big start.
It is sorta like completely made up, but about some young girls' trip from waiting on tables to getting to the big time.

It sounds like the songs have a real story telling quality to them.
Yeah, I tried to get back to that. I felt the most interesting parts of 'Temple Bar' were the songs that actually told stories. It seems a very 80's rock thing to be just singing cliques and about the same thing all the time.

Even on Bad English there are a few songs like that.
Yeah, I was trying to get that into the writing with Bad English. Actually I was pretty successful with that. I managed to get them to go for that.

How about the cover of the Dylan song 'Just Like A Woman'?
Are you a fan of Bob Dylan?

Yeah, big time! I think one of the albums that I was trying in some way align the sound of this album to was 'Blonde On Blonde', and the Beatles' 'White Album'. 'Just like a Woman' is from the 'Blonde On Blonde' album.
I used to listen to in the morning to see if I could put myself in that head space before we carried off the first song.

Your covers on the last album fitted in well, within the same sound. You know? They didn't sound like they were out of place.
I guess it is the same this time around….

Well it is hard to do a Dylan song. It is just such an enormous challenge. It is normally a train wreck!
You know, I have heard people do Dylan songs and Bob Marley songs and it's just horrendous. I think it is a genuine challenge to any singer to pull off a Bob Dylan song.
I was looking for that kind of challenge.

I must ask you about the last track. A Christmas song?
There is this benefit every Christmas down at the Bottom Line, that Glen Burtnik puts together, and all his friends turn up and they all play. I wrote the song for that.
It has been such a success. It's a country waltz you know.
It is my favorite song actually!

Oh yeah? Well, you have worked a bit with Glen, live and on 'Temple Bar'.
When I talked to him a while back, he had nothing but high praise.

Oh that's very nice of him, he's a great guy.

Did you enjoy working with him?
Yeah, we wrote 'Downtown' together.

That's my favorite song off 'Temple Bar'.
That is mine too. That was as good as 'Missing You' I thought. That was an extremely high note to hit, and there is only a few people that can go into that place and come out with something, and Glen's one of them.

You did some acoustic gigs with him.
Yeah, we used to go out and just play sets of music to people.

Speaking of which, did you record any of those shows?
No, we just didn't have the presence of mind for that. It was a lot looser than you might think. We would just think of something and start playing it.
We used to do a lovely version of Downtown on acoustic guitar, but nope, we didn't record any.

Shame, I would have loved to have head at least one of the gigs!
Well we played this strip club once. We were doing a radio promotion and they put us on the runway of this strip club. It was pretty funny! I would kill for a tape of that! There were some memorable gigs, it was a good time.

'Temple Bar' was a very mellow record, what is the tempo of the new one?
I think there is more, er, rock if you like, there is a song called I-95 that is like completely over the top, very fast.
I am trying to move into a different area, I have played straight ahead rock n roll nearly all my life, and mixed ballads into it.
And played them in a certain way also, and after a while, it's like if something works some bands keep doing the same thing over and over again and hope it makes the same success.
I just feel that I owe the public something else, you know.
If you like the older records, you've already got them. This album and the last album were written in the same style as the first Baby's record as far as song writing goes. But I don't choose to go into certain areas that I have investigated pretty strongly, but again, if you played all this stuff live, it would probably be about 10 notches up.

After the second Bad English album, 'Backlash', it seemed an eternity until 'Temple Bar'. You had record company problems and a long time to fill in.
The lyrics on 'Temple Bar' seemed to reflect where you were at mentally.
Was it a hard slog getting back?

Well with Bad English I finished the record and did a bit of promotion for it and I said goodbye. I said I was going to leave.
There was a big bust up in the middle of the second record about where we were going to go, and I just wasn't going to go into arena rock, I just wasn't.
And it was a very bad time, almost impossible.
We had to start from scratch. We went into the studio with hardly any songs, which was a major mistake, and was hit by the truth. We just didn't have any songs. I was working like 18 hours a day on songs. Being in the studio you know, it was just an impossible situation. I really burnt myself out. I said I would finish the record and I said I would honor all the contracts. I felt compelled to stay through that situation, but when I did leave, I think it colored me in a very bad light, because I walked away from a very successful thing, even though it was shaky, it was me who broke the chain.
But there was no amount of money that would have persuaded me to stay. I took it all very personally, and I was very angry at the situation, but I honored the contracts and I left.
It made me into a black sheep. Businessmen that run the music business don't want to hear about artistic integrity when you are talking about millions of dollars.
They really don't. They think that is like a token fantasy to them, they don't know what you are talking about, when you talk about art. They think art is short for Arthur.
I think I had a hard time getting back on the beam, because it was hard to find a company that would believe in me. You know if you are not going to make them a million dollars and do the expected thing, what god are you to them?
But the guy that was running Imago records gave me a shot and gave me Carte Blanch really. I was really grateful to him for letting me back in the ring, and I the album I made 'Temple Bar', was probably the best album I've made to date.
But that is what was wrong.
I was very aware during the second Bad English record, of what was going on in Seattle. I had a big poster of Iggy Pop tacked up in my vocal booth and stuff, and a big Union Jack. It wasn't like I was on this big trip to become….like, I didn't want it to be arena rock. I wanted to bring something more threatening and dark into that picture, because we had the world's attention and we could have done a lot more to change the mainstream of American music. We had the balls and it was up to the people to have balls to do something, or just go along just like everybody else is going.
Which is something I couldn't and just wouldn't do.

A dark record I think would have been extraordinary!!
It would have been wonderful. There are moments on 'Backlash' that would get there. But it wasn't what they were doing, and I think it says a lot about them that we tried going to some of those areas. But at the end of the day given their choices, they would go straight back to the Journey stuff, and they did.

You always said you would like to do a Bad English live record, as you thought you had a great band. Did you record any of those shows?
No. Yeah that was unfortunate. It was just one of those things that never happened. I though that was going to be our crowning glory, go out on a high note. Even though we only did two records, I thought we would really put out a great live album with like, some new songs on it, but we could never agree on anything. We never shared the vision of where we were going or why. It was hard to do things like that.

So not much chance of working with the guys again?
I don't think that is ever going to happen, no.

What was harder – the period up to and recording 'Temple Bar', or the collapse of the label and the time after that?
Well, that was interesting. No, it was the two years of just sitting there. Cause I had been on tour for a couple of years, I had made two albums and hadn't stopped running. And then I had 2 years of…
I went back into Italy and spent about two months drifting around then I went all over Britain, then I went back to America.
But I was just basically trying to disappear. I didn't want to be making any more records at that point anyway. I think I went Italy for so long because I couldn't speak any of the jargon, it was hard to get hold of me, and it was hard to have a conversation with anybody there.
I just had everybody leaving me alone.

And that was good, eh?
Yeah, yes it was!

Was it hard to find the willpower to get back up and start again?
No, I was always writing poetry and lyrics and stuff, but the music end of it – I was waiting for something to come that was more honest.
I mean the idea of 'Temple Bar' was a very subtle idea, it wasn't grab a bunch of commercial rock songs and put them out, and shake your ass and jump up and down, it was a pretty grown up record.

I think the style caught a lot of people off guard.
It took me a few listens for me. I was like wow – what's this?
Ha ha ha ha.
Wait till you hear the new one!

Yeah, sorry to describe it like that, but after a few listens I was hooked and I love it. It does sound like maybe your most consistent record.
Thank you.

Did you get a good response from it?
Um, yeah. I got like A+ reviews. I got the best reviews of my career. But it being on a smaller record it was difficult.
We got to number 2 on AC (Adult Contemporary) and that is when the bottom fell out. Right near the top of the charts and Imago just dropped the ball, and lost momentum.
That was hard. It was kinda weird to watch that happen. At least I got to make the record.

What is the status of it now? Imago is sort of semi-going aren't they?
Yeah, I don't know what they are doing. They sold the record to another record company who put it out. I was in London last week and you could buy it at Tower in Picadilly for 19 pounds.

Oh dear!
Yeah! But I managed to take three tracks and put them on a greatest hits album I have just released, about four or so months ago. So the best tracks went on the album and you can get that.

I will ask you about a couple of songs on the 'Temple Bar' album.
'Price Of My Tears'….

Yeah, that was about living in an apartment building in New York, just hating the world really.

It sounded like it!
Well you know, you turn on the TV and see these fucking God-awful confessional talk shows, with men wearing dresses and jumping out of windows.
Fucking hell! I would wake up in the morning and then I would go down the corner to an Irish bar called Kennedy's about 12 o'clock, have a couple of pints of Guinness, get some food, go to the movies. I lived a very solitary life.
'Price Of My Tears' was about living in this apartment looking out on this city, sort of in this vacuum.

The other track I love is 'More'.
Oh great, yeah. That is a beautiful song. That is about spiritual yearning. It is about a similar thing. About being caught in this vacuum and it is just all there is kinda thing. I do like that song.

I have heard of a couple of things, but is there many John Waite archive recordings sitting in a vault somewhere.
I have got 14 songs that I recorded before 'Missing You'. When I had got away from Chrysalis, I went into the studio and cut all these sides, and they are 24 track masters. I would like to release them. Possibly I will do another Greatest Hits record for EMI England, and I might include some of that stuff on it.

Were some of those songs featuring Eddie Van Halen?
Oh no, that is on a live track, when Eddie gets up and plays.
Oh, was that the Van Halen rumor?
Somebody told me that in Australia there was a rumor that I had joined Van Halen. Ha ha ha ha.

Yeah that was probably me! Not that I started it, but I heard something to that effect, and passed it along to Gold Mountain.

Okay, how about a comment on each of your solo records.

It's a good album that. It goes back to a period, just a wonderful time for me. I had just got to New York, and I felt like I was on fresh ground and had enormous energy. It reflects New York to me. When I think of it, I think 1980-81, and all the songs were written about New York so I has a tremendous sentimental effect on me. I was living right opposite where John Lennon was shot – Central Park West and 72nd St.

A very live sounding record.
Yeah, recorded at the Power Station.

'No Brakes'?
Great, because I had just come back from England. I had actually gone home and quit the business and gone home and got married.
I came back to work with Gary Myrick, the guitar player. We put a whole thing together in LA and ran with it. We were writing like, a song a day and recording it at night.
So that was like a watershed album, it was great time for me. Also 'Missing You' happened at that time. It all came right. For once it all came completely right.

'Mask of Smiles'?
That was a bit sadder. I had been on the road for year and a half, I had come off…….I think a lot of those songs were kind of, not so much sad – because it was a great time, it was a really good time, but I was nackered.
I was trying to find some sort of time away. I had this tremendous involvement with this really beautiful girl I had been seeing for 6 months, and I was in love with her. I remember being in the Westwood marquee, living in there writing songs, it was a great period. It's a lovely album, but I think at the end of that period, I was just beat.
I had just bought a new house in Westchester, come back from a world tour, trying to keep the band together, cause the band was falling apart.
It was just business as usual really, there is some lovely songs on there. 'Just Like Lovers' is a great song and 'The Choice'.

I also like the track 'No Brakes'. Was that a left over from the album of that name?
Yeah, that was actually written back with those songs that haven't been released yet. It was one of those songs from that period. I had the title in my head, it was a great title for that record, but it just wasn't appropriate to be on it.

And my favorite album of yours, 'Rovers Return'.
Great, yeah. That was just a full out great record actually. I said after that record I wouldn't do another solo record. I didn't think I could better it.
There were just some great songs on that record, and it was done well.
Frank Fillipetti engineered it, and he was co-producer on some of the stuff on it, it was just really great.
But when I came out of that I had no intention of ever going back and recording a solo album. That's why I put together a band, cause Bad English came after that. I just wanted to be in a band. I didn't think I could make another solo record.

Favorite album?

Yeah, out of everything ever!
I think all of them have a place in my heart somewhere. I think 'Head First', the third Baby's album. It is surprisingly good. I heard it again the other day, and I really thought My God! There is a confidence there and a clarity in the writing that is way ahead of its time, for my age. And I think it was strong record.
But I think 'Temple Bar' and this album 'When You Were Mine', these last two I think are the most revealing. But then again, as you get older you try and define your writing and not try and bullshit and use cliques to actually say what is going on. Even if you try and say it in a way that is still not so revealing that it is embarrassing, it's still art. I think I have really cut to the heart of the matter with these last two records. Really cut to the bone.

Yeah, it was a different perspective listening to a John Waite record with such personal lyrics.
Well that is what I am trying to get to. I am trying to get away from the Rock N Roll singer bullshit, and still have the rock n roll heart. But no use the devices given to you by other people. It is a wonderful art form, is rock n roll.
You have to try and treat it with some kind if respect.

And for the future?
I am going to go and throw this baby out, and see if it's a hit.
I think it is going to go quite well.
Yeah, I am going to do a tour and take it as far as I can. I would like to put a large band together, a touring band, very spontaneous, and get out there and play some gigs. Play as long as I can.

Obviously with the new album and bigger label, there is going to be a lot more promotion. Are there any plans yet?
Well, there will be a tour. I will definitely tour. And we are doing 20 dates in about three weeks when the single comes out.
We are going to some unplugged gigs in tiny clubs across America. Just me and a guitar player.
But should the single show any signs of being a hit, I will be out on a full-scale tour.

How about an Australian tour?
You know, that is the one thing I have not done. If I can get down there I'll come. And I think with Mercury at the wheel, they will let me come if I insist.
If we get any kind of response down there, I always said I would come, and there has always been something that has gone wrong.

Well John, thanks for your time today. I will get this interview on line as soon as possible.
What do you think of the whole net thing?

It's interesting, I was talking to some fans in Chicago yesterday, and it is really cool. I try and write back to people who write to me. I sit down and write letters. I usually get about 10 letters out a week, I mean I really do write back. But with the Internet, you can say I am going to talk to so and so, and you can find the number and get hold of them, it's pretty cool.

Have you got an e-mail address?
No, just the management company. I can't type and I haven't got a computer! So I just sit here with the guy and type things out and send them!
But I try and avoid the technology thing here. I am still learning to restring a guitar.
Ha ha ha
I am not kidding either!!

Okay John, thanks again!
Okay, well stay in touch, and let us know what you do with it, we will be very curious to see how it all comes out.

Good luck John.
God bless.

And that was that! Many thanks to Toon for her help. Make sure you are a regular visitor to her great JW web page for more news updates.
Also thanks to JD and the management co. at Gold Mountain New York, for their co-operation.

c.1997 Andrew J McNeice


Brian Howe (1997)

So Brian, it has been a few years since your departure from Bad Company, what did you spend the time doing?
Since leaving Bad Co. I have literally just taken time off to be with my kids, after having an horrendous divorce. Also the musical climate was changing and I wanted to see it settle a little before I made another record.

How long has it taken to write and record the new solo record?
All in all it took eighteen months to write and record the new record
"Tangled in Blue".

It's great to see you working with producer Terry Thomas, I am also a big fan of his work. You obviously have a good relationship with him?
Terry Thomas and I go back to the dangerous age album and we have remained great friends ever since.

Tell us a few things about the new album. It is a more laid back sound to that of the AOR of the Bad Company records.
With this record I wanted to move away from the A.O.R. area and make a record that I would actually like to hear.
No detriment to BAD CO but I can't keep singing about cars and girls and life on the road forever.

Is there any favourite song off the new record?
My fav song on Tangled in blue is 'I Will Find A Way'. I wrote it
for my children during my divorce and I think it sums up how many fathers feel when the courts favour the mother regarding the children.

How about the band on the album. Who is in it?
The band on the album does not exist, Terry of course played guitars, Felix Krish played bass. Keyboards also by Terry and Felix, and Mick Jones of Foreigner also played on "Don't ask me why".

Are there any touring plans?
There are no touring plans as yet.

I am not sure what really happened, but can you describe the end of your involvement in Bad Company?
Leaving Bad Co. was not a difficult decision, it had got to the point where nobody was contributing anything to songwriting and quite frankly the band was getting very very sloppy live. I quite simply, along with Terry Thomas, got tired of doing all the work and then get nothing but resentment for it from Mick and Simon.

You made four studio and one live album with the band, what were the highlights for you?
The highlight for me in Bad Co. was turning the group around from being almost a bar band (that's how far they had fallen) to selling millions of records again and playing to sold out shows 15,000 / 25,000 people every night.

What was your favourite album to record?
I loved recording all of the Bad Co. studio albums during which time I never saw the other band members !!!!!!!

How about song?
I think my favourite song from those days would have to be "If You Needed Somebody" It still sounds current.

Was it hard to play the original Bad Co. songs live?
Playing BAD CO songs live was no problem as Paul has a lower range than I do it actually gave my voice a rest during what was a very exhausting live show,not many singers would attempt to go where I went range wise and put all those songs in a live set............perhaps only the great John Farnham (my favourite all time

Yeah, John has probably the best voice ever. I wish he would make a rock record! Thanks for your time Brian, good luck with the album.
Thanks for spreading the word!


Jimi Jamison - Interview 1 (1997)


Well, it was with a degree of caution that I broke the first question to Jimi Jamison, the man who joined Survivor half way through their grand career, and helped add a bunch of hit singles to their roster.
I had to get straight to the point about what happened to the band after 'Too Hot To Sleep'. It has been a few years now, and I still don't think I have heard what really went on. So now Jimi's back, got that theme thing with Baywatch going on...and I thought it was a good time to get to the bottom of things.

Jimi, How's it going?
Everythings going really well. The band sounds great and we're writing and touring a lot.

Jimi, I don't know how to put this, so I am just going to get straight to the point.
What happened to Survivor after the 'Too Hot To Sleep' album?
And just how ugly did it get?!

You know, it never really got ugly. At least in my eyes. I mean , I don't hate or wish Jim, Frank or any of the guys any harm or bad luck. I hope they are successful and happy.
You see Andrew, I held (and I guess I always will) a special place in my heart for them. It was like a marriage and the songs were our children.
I didn't write any of the songs on Vital Signs, but on all the others I had a major role in the songwriting process, but like in a marriage, my children were taken away from me behind my back. I was never even consulted on the splits.
Instead, I found out that my name was left off songs that I had helped write only when the album came out and I saw the credits. I couldn't believe my eyes! I trusted and gave my heart and soul to the band only to be betrayed.
What really hurt me deeply was that when in the courtroom, on the stand, the guy I respected and loved like a brother the most, stated when asked, "Just how important was Mr. Jamison to the sucess of Survivor?......Jim Peterik said," He was no more important than someone on the road crew".

Well Jimi, I would definately call that ugly. And shitty. If I can ask one more question on the subject - how was the usage of the name 'Survivor' resolved?
A couple of years ago after months of litigation and days in court, a Wisconsin judge ruled, after questioning and viewing the evidence, that the right to use the name SURVIVOR, was just as much mine if not more.
Mainly because I tried to put the band back together but got no cooperation from them until I started touring successfully. At that point they became very interested in stopping me from playing.
Jim P. told me that they were going to take the name and just let it die. I guess, so that their names and legacy only would live on.
But what they didn't realize is that its not their names and legacy thats important ---- its the name SURVIVOR and the joy its brought to millions of people.

Andrew, At the request of their parents, I've talked to children with terminal cancer whose last wish was just to meet and talk to me because our music somehow eased their pain or got them through another day.
I don't think the public deserves being treated this way to just let Survivor die and I WILL NOT LET ONE OF THESE KIDS DOWN !

Do you hear from the other guys, Jim and Frankie at all?! (possibly a silly question)

Yeah, I thought that was silly question. The 'Too Hot To Sleep' album was released in '88, and you had your solo album in '91. Was it all of the above during that period?
Not totally. They didn't want me to do a solo album but they were tired of Survivor too. I was told that if I did a solo album they would just break the band up. I told them that we could continue with both but they said no. I continued to do both anyway.

What lead you to a solo record?
Broken Promises.

Looking back on that album now, do you have any specific thoughts or memories?
I only wish that it had been promoted.

So okay, it's a few years on now. What have you been up to in the Nineties?!!!
We are currently touring and getting a great responce from the old fans and making new fans because the new band has great songwriting ability and the wisddom to know that we are on stage to entertain the audience and not vice-versa .

Well it's been many years since we have heard your great vocals on any new records - What have you been working on?
We are currently writing and rehearsing for a Summer album release.

I am of course, leaving out the 'Baywatch' anthem 'I'm Always Here', can you tell us how that song came about, and how it ended up the theme for the show?
I received a call at my home in Memphis from Greg Bonann, the executive producer of the show. Greg stated that he was a big fan and wanted to know if I would be interested in writing the theme song. Of course I said yes so I flew to L.A. and joined forces with Corey Lyrios of Pablo Cruise fame to pen the song.
Greg and I have become good friends as a result and Corey and I were already pals. I can't say enough about Greg. Hes a great producer and the man has saved 100's of lives. The show is based on his experiences as a long time lifeguard.

Cool! Has that helped keep your profile up at all?
Oh, most certainly. To my surprise people ask about it a lot. As a result we play it in our live performances.

So as things stand right now, 'Survivor' is alive and well?
Alive, well, and kickin butt!

Can you tell us who is in the band right now?
Chris Adamson - guitar,vocals ( you won't believe this kid - think of Eddie VH, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray all in one body)
Hal Butler - keyboards,vocals
Jeff Adams - bass,vocals
Pete Mendillo - drums,percussion,vocals.

And the 64 million dollar question....Where, and when is the next album?!!!!
Well, I guess we're trying for that summer release.

Do you have plans for a release, label, or territories through which it may be released?
As of yet we're not sure where it will be released first but I'll keep you posted.

Are there any people you have collaborated with for the new songs?
Yes, but we have to many songs. We're narrowing them down now so I'd better not mention any writers names just in case one of their songs doesn't make the CD.

Sure. Is there a darker tone to these songs, considering what you have been through?
Not Really.

Looking back on Survivor up to the 'Too Hot' record, are there any good memories, and/or favourite albums you recorded?
I think 'Too Hot' was the best album Survivor has ever recorded. I enjoyed writing and recording it even if my name was left of the writing credits.

How about the cult status of AOR/Hard Rock. There is still considerable dedication and following out there for this music. Does that give you hope?
Sure there is. The only thing any band really has is hope.

Do you hear much from the fans?
Sure, we have a couple of fan sites with pics,tourdates,feedback,news and booking info on the internet. It seems I'm always answering e-mail.

So in brief, apart from everything else going on, what plans do you hold for the future?
Is there anything you want to do, besides get this record out?

Be Happy. Thats my plan.

How about a club tour of Australia?!!!!
I'm embarrassed to say I've never been to Australia. I'd love to do a club tour . You can really get close to the people that way. Actually some of my good friends are from Australia. All the guys in Little River Band are friends and really fantastic performers.

Well Jimi, I have to thank you for enduring my barrage of questions, and I think from answering them honestly.
I think that will earn you a few new fans Jimi.

Andrew, The questions were tough. But after the first one I really enjoyed answering them. Thanks for your interest.

Thanks Jimi.


Ricky Philips (1997)


Ricky Phillips has been more then just the bass player in some of hard rocks' best bands, spanning from the late seventies to the late nineties, when Ricky continues to write and record some of the more classic recent releases. It all started in the seventies with a little know act called the Baby's, featuring the fresh talent of Ricky, vocalist John Waite and keyboard player Jonathan Cain. The band became huge and went on to sell millions of records.
In the eighties Rick took to television and film writing, until the chance to team with Waite and Cain came again in Bad English, who bought us two albums of tunes pure AOR is made of.
After Bad English fell apart badly, Ricky continued to write, produce and record as a session player, in high demand.
Most recently he has played bass on the Coverdale/Page album, and recorded a great album with ex-Toto vocalist Fergie Frederikson. On that album, Ricky produced, wrote most of the material, sang lead on one track and backing on the rest, and of course played his bass.
In tune with always keeping busy, Ricky talks about another Frederikson/Phillips record, possible liaison with Bruce Gowdy and Kelly Hansen in 'Heaven And Earth', and working with rocks' hardest working vocalist Jeff Scott Soto on a 'pet project'.
And thrown in for good measure, some more stories of Lead Singer Disease, so elegantly highlighted by Eddie Van Halen recently!

How's things going?
Things are going good, man, things are going good. You know, there's always something going on.

I hear you have a new project together.
Well, I 'm doing a few things. I have just been asked to do another Frederikson/Phillips album, which is a thing I did, I don't know if you are aware of that.

I was going to get to that, it was one of my favourite albums of last year!
Oh, thank you very much.

I think that is superb!
Oh, thankyou. Well Fergie and I had a great time doing it, it was really quick and fast the way we had to do it, but we may be doing another one here. Magnus, who actually signed us to the Swedish label that started that with, has now ended up at another label MTM.

Yeah, I know Magnus.
Okay. And he wants Fergie and I to do another one where he can, er - he left the label before we really were finished, and it never really got the push or anything once it was released. So anyway he wants us to do another one.
So it looks like we probably will at some point, I kinda have been putting material together for that. It will probably be a bit of a direction change, Fergie and I talked about trying to do something that's a little more, er I don't know - we haven't really figured out what, but we want to make this one a little different than the first one.

But anyway, that's going on, and I 've been working with Jeff Scott Soto, and a guy by the name of Marcus Nand, who is a young guitar player from Spain.

That I didn't know about.
Yeah it's actually a project that I have had in the works for a few years, but it's just kinda one of those things that I have really been taking my time on it, and trying to....I want it to be exactly what I want to do. So it's not really following any trend, it's kind of it's own thing. It doesn't sound like anyone else. And I think um, the whole point of it is to try and get an American deal. So we'll see.
What project were you talking about?

The thing I heard about was with Bruce Gowdy and Kelly Hansen.
Well you know, Bruce and I work all the time.

Yeah, like on Frederikson/Phillips.
Yeah, yeah, Bruce and I wrote a song together on that and I played on when he was with interscope, I played on the Unruly Child album, and I have done a lot of the projects he's produced, I've played on. I just did a session for him a couple of days ago. But um, Bruce and I have been threatening to do something, whether it's going to be with Kelly, um I don't know. I mean, to be honest with you we haven't really put that thing in full motion, we've hung out, we've talked it around and I know there has been a lot of stuff discussed and talked about, but I haven't really committed to anything yet.

So we're jumping the gun a little bit with that one?
Yeah, I think so. As far as my involvement goes, they may be into something, but I don't' know, it just depends. If there is something real substantial, something I really like then I would be all for it, but I haven't really committed to anything with those guys.

Yeah, I've been doing sessions. I've been playing on a few records here and there. I did a couple of guest spots on a couple of those tribute records. You know, just writing and producing a few things, and trying to stay busy.

Sounds like it! So is there anything else in the works at the moment? What will be the next record that Ricky Phillips plays on, that comes out?
It's really hard to say because right now there is a whole lot of stuff going on. I got a call from Keith Olsen who produced stuff with the Babys a few years back. He just called me this morning, and he's got some stuff he's working on, he said he couldn't talk too much about it yet, he was just wondering about my availability, so if that's something that is going to start soon, there's something there.
There's also a few things in the works, people who have been calling me asking me if I am available to play on stuff, but as far as any real major deal - the stuff I'm working on with Jeff Scott Soto and Marcus Nand, which is nameless at this point, is probably the main thing I'm kinda excited about.

He's a great singer.
Oh yeah, Jeff's great. And I have been writing this stuff, this style of music, I'm not sure how to describe it, but the're songs, it's really a singers type of thing, you know. And I have always thought Jeff is a great singer who always ends up in these kind of faceless projects that don't really, you know.

Yeah, He's been in a few hasn't he?!
Yeah, you know what I'm saying. I said Jeff, you are going to be the guy who nobody really knows who he is because the kind of projects you get involved in are all projects that don't have personality to them, and so I said, you should check some of this stuff out and tell me if you are interested. I played him the material, this was like, over a year ago, he's as busy as I am doing stuff. So this has become each of our pet project and we're in no rush about it, we want to make it right. It's a lot of fun when we get together we are excited about it. The problem is it's not a project, it's more like a band, something we want to be involved in. So we don't have a time limit on it, we're not trying to beat the clock. It's different than just being in a project.

You were talking about your songwriting, how it hasn't particularly had a vein to it, or a direction. The stuff you wrote on Frederikson/Phillips is pretty diverse also.
Yeah, you know I don't know if that's good or bad. I'm always like that.

I thing it worked great on the album.
Well thanks, I hoped it would. I hate to do whole record that sounds like one song continues from the next, I like to do a little bit of everything. The one song I did with Alan White for example, I wanted to create that early seventies sound.

That's got a huge seventies epic feel to it.
Yeah, I just kinda wanted to have some fun with that, and then it goes into that sort of Pink Floyd middle section. But you know, I had a couple of the guys that work in and out of the Tower Of Power horns over the years, come in and blow horns on a couple of the songs. And a couple of the songs had the female backing vocals kinda thing, and I just want to try a little of everything.
This project with Jeff is really based around two guitars, cause I'm playing one of the guitars. I am playing bass so far on all of the recordings, but I really would like to find at some point a bass player to take over, because I'm playing guitar. Marcus and I have developed a sort of two guitar style with a lot of finger picking and some flamenco and a little bit of be bop and some blues, but not really rock at all!

And Marcus played with you on the Frederikson/Phillips.
Yeah, Marcus and I wrote a song on there called Queen Bee.

And you sang on that track!

It sounded great!
Yeah, thanks man! It's funny, a lot of people er, Fergie kinda dumped that in my lap. I really wanted Fergie to sing that song, but when I sent him the demo which I sang on, he said, You know what - all this other stuff's great, it's me, but there's no way I can sing that song like you do, and I said you don't have to sing like me, sing it the way you do. He goes - you don't understand what I'm saying, it won't be as good, you should sing that song. And I said, I'm flattered, but there's no way, I'm not a singer! You're the singer! He said, you know what? This is the perfect time for you to do this. In the end I only had him out here for ten days, and he kinda set it up so he didn't have time to do that song, and said there, see now you gotta do it!
See he's not living here, he's living in Minneapolis. So he came out to L.A., I only had him here for 10 days to do that record. Anyway, at any rate I am happy that way it turned out. I was scared to death at first, I really kind of freaked out having to sing it.

I think I read somewhere that you said you were intimidated singing after Fergie.
Oh, absolutely. Extremely intimidated! I have worked with Sammy Hagar, David Coverdale, John Waite, even John Parr who was an English singer, these guys are amazing singers. I have even worked with Roger Daltry on a project. He came over here when he had a solo record, and Pat Torpey from Mr Big, he and I did some stuff for him. And I have worked with some amazing singers. So I don't put myself in that category, it was fun to do. It was a great one-off situation, to be able to sing, I enjoyed it.

It did sound good!
Well I did another singing thing as a matter of fact, this summer. I starred in a short film that was shot in Los Angeles. It was just for these festivals, it was a twenty five minute short. I played the part of this other song writer, this guys name is H.T, and the name of the movie was H.T's Song. And at the end of the movie, I wrote the music for the movie, and the very last song is H.T's song, and I had Jeff come in and sing it and I sent it in, and the producer calls me up and says there's only one problem. She says who's singing this? I said well, Jeff Scott Soto. She goes, well he's got an incredible voice, but it's nothing like you would sing it, it has to be you, the guy in this movie, singing this song. You gotta be able to tell its you. That's part of the charm, the whole movie leads up to this song, and I went ohh shit!!
So anyway, I got stuck with having to sing it, and everybody seems to like it too, it's just makes me nervous!

For a guy with a pretty good voice, you seem reluctant to use it!
Well, thank you, but I think it's best when I'm singing behind another person, a lead singer. I could never front the band. I would hide behind someone else on stage, I could never do it! I can jump around and do what ever comes naturally to me when I'm playing, but singing I would be far too intimidated!

What's it like working with singers like Sammy Hagar and David Coverdale?
Um, it's great, you know, theres something about each singer. Singers have a thing about them, they are the kind of people that don't seem to mind being the center of attention, as a matter of fact they prefer it that way.
And I'm not like that, it's very interesting working with people like that. Sammy is like the coach of a football team or something, he gets everybody pumped up and charged - lets go out there, you know, take no prisoners attitude, he's really fun. The only time I've worked with Sam is on a couple of occasions, we did the Bammy's with him - me Denny Carmassi and Neal Schon and Sammy did this thing. He was nominated for Best singer, I think it was the last Van Halen album that he sang on.
I've known Sam over the years, matter of fact I have been up to his house and recorded in his home studio a couple of times. It was a chance to really do something, have some fun, and he's just the greatest guy.
David Coverdale, hanging out with him, when we were doing the Coverdale/Page thing, we rehearsed a lot up at Lake Taho, at David's house. David is like just a real good guy, a real gentleman and he's a hard worker who likes to have his fun too, but he's a pretty serious guy really.


Another great album!
It was a fun record. I think it could have been a lot tougher and rougher and had a lot more jagged edges to it.
When we first did it, it was real pure and honest. But they started re-recording it, and I think they took too long to make it, so what happens when you start hearing things over and over, you start hearing imperfections as imperfections, rather then the beauty of them. And so as they started to hear these imperfections they started to correct them and fix them note and time perfect, and all of a sudden they squeezed a lot of the life out of it.
But nevertheless it was a fun project, and Jimmy and David were both great to work with.


That would have been a buzz.
Yeah, but with singers in general, I think they have gotta have it.

And sometimes that attention thing can be their downfall.
Well, it's whether or not you can keep a leash on the animal, you know! Some people are too reckless, and the very thing that could them a huge success, is also the thing that could lead to their demise.
All musicians talk about it, they all know about it. It's no secret that singers are really the most egocentric guys in the band, it's just the was it goes. The reason musician jokes are so funny is because there is an element of truth to them, but I couldn't do it! Not me.

How about John Waite. You have worked with him on a few occasions over the years.
Oh yeah, John and I were best mates for a number of years, all through the Baby's and even after the Baby's. Initially, I remember when he first moved to New York, he asked me - Lets go to New York, let's get out of here, that's where it's happening. I thought you know what, I don't want to go to New York, I want to do something new. He ended up going, and we didn't really keep in close touch, every once in a while we would check in and say what's going on.
I remember when he was doing the Missing You record, he came back to L.A. and we were hanging out a bit during the making of that. But it wasn't until Bad English that we started hanging out again, and you know, I had changed incredibly in that time.
John and I were reckless maniacs with different women every night, you know, just raging partying, rocking and rolling. And um, when John went to N.Y, I changed dramatically, I started getting into film and writing for television and producing a few things, I even did a little acting back then, I just changed my whole thing.
When we got back together in Bad English, it was a real different kinda reunion. We were like the two crazy compadres at one time and I wasn't there anymore, I was a lot more serious. I love to go out and get crazy, but not as a lifestyle.

Bad English kinda fell apart didn't it?
Too many cooks. Nobody was willing to bend anymore. Everyone forget what the beauty of being in a band was all about, and at some point there has to be some degree of a democracy, or all the parties have to agree that one person is the dictator. It can't be both, and er, when you've got four great writers in one band, somebody's got to give. The first record we all kind of pitched in and did our job. First off I was really involved in the songwriting, then Neal came into the situation, and I pushed him forward. He would come over to my house and I would record his ideas one after another, cause they were so brilliant. But after awhile everyone forgot what the chemistry was, everyone was fighting for their ideas, instead of finding where the most natural flow was.


And people started keeping score, and that's where the dissatisfaction started cropping up. Quite frankly Jonathan Cain and John Waite tried to take over during the second record, and run it, and that's when Neal Schon and I basically said at one point - Lets finish this record, but this is not really what I'm here for.
And slowly but surely I didn't change, it got worse and we really fell apart and split up during the making of that second record.
It was at that point he record company kinda lost interest in putting anything behind it. Which is a shame, because there are some really classy pieces of music on that record. You could feel that tension, which in a way is kinda cool, I mean I can really feel the tension in the recording of those songs, and I like that.


But you can't live like that.
No you can't live like that, but it's a shame because it was a good record.


I remember hearing John say he would like to release a live album from the band.
Well, you know, Tony Phillips - who is producing the new John Waite record - I know that is what they are trying to do.
But John always tries to do that, he always says - I'm gonna do this, I'm gonna do it - I want it to be rough, I want it to be raw - Then in the end it sounds like a glossy record.

His last album was about as polished as they come!
Oh my God, I know! I'm hoping.....You know Tony Phillips is a great choice for this record, cause Tony knows how to get glossy and funky and over produced, but the beauty with him is that he can do both, and he knows when not to. And I think maybe this is the first time John gets a shot at doing a rough and raw record.


I don't think I have ever heard a rough and raw John Waite record!
You know what, I am producing this girl right now, and I was trying to get a point across to her, and I finally realised, and I said come in the house for a minute, and I put on an old Babys record. I said this is what I am getting at. I haven't heard this record for years, so it may sound dated, but I think the energy I am looking for is something like this. I put on Head First. I hadn't heard it for a long long time, and it sounded great! John sounded energised, and rough, and raw, and going for notes and hitting them. There was some magic I hadn't heard John do in fifteen years. He can do it, he's got it, he'll do it, but then when it comes to recording he's thinks he's got the image of the guy who sang Missing You. He's got to take the dress off and do some rocking and rolling.


There are some very dark lyrics on that last album.
Oh, man!

He doesn't sound too happy with himself.
John's never been happy with himself. Oh my God! Yeah I know.

It's a cool record to listen to for morbid moods!
I know, there's actually one song on there about the guy.....

You mean Downtown?
Yeah, that's a great track.
Definitely, I mean John is a brilliant writer, he really is good. But we'll see what happens, I wish him the best, this is the one he has been talking about, I hope he does it, just let it go, let the beast within him go.

I actually had an interview with him, I was all set and called him up, and his manager came back to the phone and said he doesn't want to do it. He feels like he hasn't got anything to talk about.
Was that Ron Stone?

Yeah. Not good?
No, he's not one of my favourite people. Years ago I did some stuff with Belinda Carslile, so I have worked with him. I lost all respect for him, when me and Torpey and, do you know Brett Tuggle?

Yeah, me and Pat and Brett were doing this thing with Belinda. He er, well he is not my favourite guy.

I think Brett is with Whitesnake now.
Well I think so, I think he is going to do that. I think they are doing some European and Japanese dates.

I'm still waiting for the new album.
Yeah, Denny Carmassi told me there is one song on there I'm really going to like. I was up in Taho over New Years, and was trying to call him, but we had this thing called the hundred year flood hit right in the middle of it, so all the phone lines were down. So I never got the chance to see him. I wanted to pop over to his place and hear the new stuff, I haven't talked to David in almost a year now.
I haven't talked to Denny now for a couple of months.
I'm a real blues fan, so he says there is one track I'm really gonna like, that will remind me of some stuff we did.

The Frederikson/Phillips has some blues leanings.
Yeah, Fergie isn't really a blues singer, but if he was man, I would have taken that thing real bluesy.

He's a killer singer!
Yeah, absolutely.

There was one other question for you. The track Loaded Gun from the Bangladore Choir album, was that your song?
Yeah, that's me. That is actually a song I wrote for Bad English.

It's the best song on the entire album!
Oh thanks man! Yeah basically I wrote the song, I thought it would be a killer single for Bad English. John would have done a fantastic job on that. The demo I did, I think was a little bit better than what Bangladore Choir ended up doing. I think it was a little bit much of a song for them to handle, but the demo of that is really killer.
And John just didn't want to sing er, it would have been the single from the second record, I think it would have done really well, but he didn't want to sing anything I wrote. He wanted to write the lyrics himself. That was a big problem with working with John, and I love his lyrics, I haven't got a problem with that.
I just don't sit down and write music, as a lot of times I'll think of a catch phrase or a title or something, and it'll start happening. With John he doesn't want to know any of that, he er, it's just bullshit, because he'll go sing a Dianne Warren song, you know what I mean? If it comes from within the band he has trouble with it.

He should definitely leave those Dianne Warren songs alone!
Oh, jeez, I know.

It's been done.
That was never my idea. I am even on film someplace saying - I don't think we should do this song, it may be a hit, but it will kill the band. And that is pretty much what happened.

Everybody's done her songs.
Yeah, I know. You know, good for her, but I'll never be doing them again.

I appreciate your time Rick.
No problem, call anytime.

Sure will!
You know what I just did, this AC/DC tribute record, with Simon Wright, and an Australian guitarist, I wish I could remember his name. Brilliant player.
It was the best session I have ever done! I walked in, met Simon, plugged in and tuned up, we didn't even rehearse the song. We played it once, and the guy was rolling the tape, and says good job we're done! I said you're kidding! No it was a good first take. We did the song 'It's A Long Way To The Top'.

It could have been Brett Garsed. He plays down here with the singer John Farnham, and they did that track live every night!
Could have been, he had a really weird guitar.

Good talking with you man!

See ya Rick!

c.Andrew J McNeice 1997


James Christian (1997)


James Christian has been going at it for over twenty years now, but it's been in the last several years that he has proved himself one of the best hard rock vocalists in the business, with three classic House Of Lords albums and a debut solo album from a couple of years ago.
James also sang with Eyes and LA Roxx back in the early eighties, and has just had a compilation album from his first band with other AOR singer/songwriter Jeff Cannata, Jasper Wrath, released to the unsuspecting public. But where is that House Of Lords Re-union?


So James, last thing I heard fom you, was the House Of Lords re-union. What happened to that?
There still might be a House Of Lords re-union soon. We have already written three songs. It all comes down to timing. The timing must be right.

Okay. I had heard on the rumour mill, that was you had submitted tracks to the label, and they didn't like it.
No it is not true. We never submitted any new tracks to the label at the time. But when we do, it will be on our terms. Why elso do a record after so many years, if you don't do it for yourself.

Right, so it's still possible then?
Yeah, as I said before, we have three tracks recorded, and depending what everyone else is doing, a re-union could definately happen.

I noticed that missing from the re-union was one Mr Guiffria! It is no secret that he is an interesting guy to work with!
Yes, Greg Guiffria was quite a guy, but time heals all wounds.

So what are the other guys up to now?
Ken Mary and Lanny Cordola are both producing, and Chuck Wright is writing songs and producing.

And I heard Greg is writing songs for pin ball machines in Las Vegas......
I don't know about Greg Guiffria!

What else have you been doing James?
I'm still writing and recording. Working on putting together another record. So many wonderful changes in my life are happening. My girlfriend, Robin Beck, is having a baby, and low and behold I'm the Dad, and I am very excited.

Tell us something about the Jasper Wrath compilation. (Featuring yourself, and other AOR notable Jeff Cannata).
I heard that you and Jeff were writing together. The Jasper Wrath record is something I did 20 years ago, My God!! Jeff Cannata is a fabulous producer and good friend, but we are not working on anything at the moment.

Do you know when any of these projects might see the light of day?
I really don't know when any of these projects will come out. Time will tell.

Looking back on 'Rude Awakening', are you happy with the result?
I was very happy with Rude Awakening. I got a chance to wear all the hats, and be responsible for it all.

You had some great songs on the album, it's one of my favourites.
I'm very proud of Rude Awakening , I agree, I thought there were some great songs on that CD.

Both House Of Lords and your solo record have that big, even huge, stadium rock sound. Does that take some doing, or does it come naturally?
It's very natural, that's the school of music I came from - 'Big And Natural'!

How about the decision to play a lot of the instruments yourself?
I decided on this project to play all the instruments because a lot of what is on the CD was created as it went down. I liked what I was hearing at the time.

Demons Down is one of my all time favourite CDS. What is your favourite House Of Lords record, and song?
Demons Down was one of my favorite Cds also. But Can't Find My Way Home was my all time favourite song to sing.

Before all this you were in a couple of very notable L.A hard rock bands in L.A Roxx and Eyes. Any comments on being in either?
I have no real thoughts on LA Roxx or Eyes, one must just look at those times as 'Paying Your Dues'.

Something I have noticed in your songwriting, tracks like 'Oh Father', 'Demons Down' and 'The Warden' have a distinct similarity in their theme. Is there an ongoing battle happening there?
The Battle is an ongoing struggle to understand life. Do we ever really understand why things turn out the way they do? So many questions, so little answers.

So is songwriting a good way off letting out these emotions?
Songwriting is great for the soul, even if you suck at it! When you put something down on paper or on tape, it lives forever. I like that.

Are you involved in anything else at the moment James?
I'm involved with working with my girlfriend Robin Beck, and doing some tracks with her. I also love working with computers and I'm getting ready to be a dad. 'Lord Have Mercy'!!

Do you at all see Marcie (Mark) Free these days?
I don't talk to Mark Free. The last time I saw him was at a party given by Judith And Robin Randall.

Okay James, thanks for the time, and good luck with becoming a Dad!!
Okay Andrew, thanks for the interest in what I'm doing.



Jack Ponti (1997)

November 1997

Hey Jack!
Are you happy with the end result of Baton Rouge?
Yeah I'm happy. It's Cool.

I think it's better than the other two by a long shot!
Thanks you, I appreciate that.

You seem to have a bigger sound on this album.
Well, it was a little bit different approach.

So how did you approach it?
I actually think we tried to make it a bit earthier. And it was pretty much Kelly and I were left to do what we wanted to do. We kind of had fun with it, rather than being microscopic.

It sounds rawer.
Yeah, definitely that kind of vibe.

And there was no major label distractions?
Yeah it was pretty much doing what we wanted to do, rather than doing what we were told to do.
You have more fun that way.

You have a huge guitar sound on this record.
It was probably because of the studio really. More than anything else. Pretty much the same amps and the same guitars used on 'Baton Rouge', 'Shake Your Soul' and 'Lights Out In The Playground'.
I think the difference in the sound is probably the studio this time around, as much as anything else.
There were less overdubs, so naturally you want to make them bigger.

And Kelly is singing like a demon!
Yeah, Kelly just came in and did it. I had finished the whole thing and Iet Kelly come in and blow over it.

So you pretty much did the one man band thing on it.
To a degree. There were a lot of us doing whatever we do but, doing it without the angle of having somebody busting my balls about mixes and overdubs.

Right! Favourite songs on the record?
Probably Shelter, more than likely.

It's a very moody album.
Yeah, shelter is definitely cool, it's different. It had a different vibe.

I like Shelter, I also like victim of the night, didn't I is my favourite.
Yeah, Didn't I is an old thing I did with Stan Bush a while back.

I noticed a couple of credits to Stan Bush on the album. Were they done a while back?
Yeah, a lot of that was Magnus looking through different songs that we liked, saying why don't you cut these. And it's like okay – cool!

How did you get teemed up with Magnus?
From BMG Sweden, I have done a lot of stuff out there.
Initially they were like – would you make another record? And I am like gee, I don't know, but one thing led to another. Initially I was going to have someone else sing it, and then I was speaking to Kelly, and he said well fuck, I want to do it!
So whenever it's me a Kelly in the same room, its Baton Rouge really.

Is there any chance of this album being released outside Europe? Like the US?
Well yeah, little by little.
If we hadn't been so busy right now, we would have figured out the rest of the territories.

Well people want it, especially in the US.
Well there seems to be this thing going on in the States, between CMC and now Sony signing a shit load of bands. You know they just signed Ratt.

I had heard that.
Yeah, Kalodners' put together this new label Legacy, and is just signing that kind of thing. Which is kinda cool.
If anyone is contacting you on the website, and happen to be female and good looking, you can give them my e-mail address!

Ha ha. Sorry I am not getting photos with my mail!!
Oh, I request photos! And if they are good looking you can let them e-mail me!

Fair enough!! Ha ha

I had done some John Farnham stuff on his last record.

I wrote Little piece Of My Soul.

Good song.
Yeah, between you and me and the wall, I have heard better versions.

It was a little MOR, that album.
I just thought the production was particularly good on the record.
John's a great singer.

Yeah, he is an awesome singer, and he needs someone to come along and play guitars for him.
He needs someone to kick his ass a little. The record sounded too laid back.

Yeah, but that's what the label want of him down here. Songs for the middle aged ect.
The Michael Bolton thing?

I understand he did exceptionally well with it.

He sure did.
I would like to work with him one on one.

There is a few people that would. I talk to people all the time that love him, but he hasn't broken outside Australia.
Give him to me for a week, and there would be some serious shit going on. There are other ways to make it sound cool, without having to use guitars.
Listen to Shelter, you can kind of hear that going on to a degree.

What about some of the other songs on the record. There are a couple with Stan Bush – any chance of working with him again?
We are not the same kind of human beings. He is a nice enough guy and I think he is very talented, but I don't really like to work with anyone that I really don't have fun with.

He strikes me as a very serious guy.
We just come from different worlds. I am a New Jersey street kid, and he's not!
But I had met him through Jonathan Cain and those kind of people and I think he is very talented, but we don't have anything in common.
I haven't seen Stan in ten years or so.

Are some of the songs that old?
No, no. a lot of them are new. Ghost Of You is brand new, Shelter also. Fairly new.
Victim of The Night I had done when I was back in Surgin' – that was way back in 81 or '82.

You also did the Alice song.
The Alice one, yeah. That has always been a favourite of everyone's, and Alice and I were talking about it and we said fuck it, let's do it.

Good version.
Yeah, that's pretty much the way the song went down.
Pretty much how it sounded.

Okay, and what are you working on now?
Oh man, too many things.
You know I have been primarily doing mainly in R&B. that's all I have been doing for 3 or 4 years. But I am working with this band Brownie Mary that will be out on Sire, I have finished that.
Working with Alice on a new record. He starts in around another month.
Working with Nelson on a new thing.

Very cool. How much involved are you with that?
I am very involved with Nelson.

Their last album, the Geffen shelved album was legendary! I can't understand why no one would not release that!
That is a long story. I think it is a great record, but it is a long story.

Is the new one similar to that one, or more in their pop style?
Definitely more like that.
Yeah, I have been with Matt and Gunnar for about 12 years.

Is that right?
There is definitely some interesting things going on. Music I think, is really starting to change a lot.
I am kinda just sitting back waiting to see what happens.

There seems to be a real opening for a style or an artist to come through.
Absolutely, no question about it.
Its definitely time, and I think guitars are going to become hip again.
You are definitely seeing it around here.
Even something like The Wallflowers is indicative of that.
If you were to change the mixes, you would have what we were doing in the 80's, you know. It would be no different, just the mix.

I have been talking to Chip Z'nuff a lot. We might do something. We are kicking around some ideas.

That would be cool!
Yeah, he is part of the old guard, you know.

They are still doing all right on their own.
Yeah, they are doing fine.

You worked with Shark Island, right?

That was a great record.
Yeah, thank you. that was a lot of fun. I enjoyed working with Richard, he was great.

Do you know why Richard disappeared from the scene?
Yeah he is in hiding in California!

He has such a great voice!
Richard doesn't really want to do anything. We have had some conversations, he really doesn't want to do anything.

Did he get burnt on it all?
I think after he did that thing with Tracii Guns, er, whatever the fuck that was called.

Yeah, Contraband. I think after that he had just kind of had it.
And Axel Rose did Richard's whole thing to the bone.
I mean, it would have to be a substantial offer to get Richard to come out of hiding. But I talk to him pretty often.

I saw Shark Island do a club gig in L.A in '92, and man, he is one of the smoothest front men I have ever seen, live or on video!
Yeah, he's a motherfucker!
I am actually kicking around the idea of releasing all unreleased stuff from everything I have done.
Shark Island, Babylon AD, Nelson, Trixter, there is so much of it.

What, all on one record?
Yeah, everything I've done with the bands on one disc, over my career.
We have all of it. Everything from early Bon Jovi thru Merideth Brooks actually.
There is quite a lot. So we are just kicking around the idea of maybe doing that.
I don't think that has ever been done before, that is a cool idea!
Actually I have to get in touch with Derek from Babylon AD, because he doesn't realize there is a R&B version of one of the tracks we had done.

Yeah, it's pretty funny!
The song 'Desperate' has been completely flipped into a R&B Urban track.
I haven't spoken to Derek in years.

You still keep in touch with people?
Well I talk to Matt and Gunnar from nelson everyday, and occasionally I will her from Richard, or Every Mothers Nightmare or Dangerous Toys, but not much else.
I actually tried to get any from all that, when I made the switch to R&B/pop.
I had to clear me head into what I am doing now.
But it seems to be coming me back in again.
Whatever, you know, I am cool with it.
It may be time to look at it again.

You know, part of my crew is from Australia.

Kevin Shirley.

Is that right?
Yeah, I am the one who brought him to the states.

He is going off right now!
Yeah, if you look at the Baton Rouge credits, you will see hi there, because he set up the mix.

He has pulled off three or four pretty big albums in a row, eh?
He just finished the Dream Theater.

I got that.
Yeah, I heard his brilliance when he was doing Baby Animals, you know, I said to him what the fuck are you doing in Australia?
You have to come here to the States.
He did a Doro record with me. Kevin is wonderful. Super-talented.
He is a very dear friend.

It was fun working with Kelly again. I haven't seen him for a few years.
That was cool.

Are you two going to work together again?
Yeah, we'll work together again. Kelly and I were always Baton Rouge.
Whenever we get together it's going to be Baton Rouge.
'Lights Out' was a really fucked up record, really dark. I think this is a little cooler.

I think it's the best album of them all.
Thanks, I appreciate that.
We just did it to have fun with it. We just said fuck it, let's have some fun with it.

Okay Jack, I appreciate your thoughts.
Okay Andrew, keep in touch man, anything you need I am here.

Thanks Jack!


Slaughter - Blas Elias (1997)


Blas, Slaughter are one of the few bands that survived the musical
'cleansing' of the past few years. Was there a time or two there when you
thought you weren't going to make it?

We went through some very trying times. We never really talked about it but
I'm sure everyone at times had some thoughts that maybe we wouldn't make it.
We're very happy now and things seem to be getting better all the time.

Stick It To Ya was huge - you may not have been an overnight success story like people like to make out (you know, hiding the hard work behind the success), but did it surprise you to have such a hit with your first record?
I think there was so much going on at the time that none of us really had
time to think much about it. We were constantly on the move and busy doing
all kinds of things. When we look back on it although we put a lot of hard
work into it we were pretty lucky to have the success that quickly.

How did each of you guys handle the exposure and success?
Everyone has their own way of dealing with it. I can't speak for everyone
else but I think I kind of created an alter ego to be able to deal with it.
I was not used to dealing with lots of people and crowds very well before so
I had to create another part of my personality. Sometimes you lose track of
who you were before but over time I was able to get a handle on it.

So did your ego's start to build, or were you able to remain down to earth (It
seems you were able to keep it in check!!)

We all remained pretty down to earth. Compared to a lot of people I think
we did pretty well.

Opening for Kiss must have been great!

Opening for Kiss was one of the highlights of all of our lives. I grew up
listening to Kiss so it meant a lot to me. I got to be good friends with
Eric Carr and we all learned a lot from working with them. We all have some
memories that will last a lifetime.

Did you have much pressure on you, while recording Wild Life?
Yeah I suppose there was some pressure. We tried not to think about it too
much and we had a pretty good time making that record. It's a lot more laid
back now working with an independent label. We have more freedom to
experiment I think.

You split with EMI to CMC, where you still are today. What prompted that

Everyone who we knew at the label had been fired and we were afraid that they
wouldn't support our vision of what our music should be. They wanted us to
be more alternative so we went somewhere that we could make the music we

Did that move help you stay together as a band? It seems those that stayed with a major ended up being screwed anyway!
Yeah I'm sure it did. EMI has not had any luck with rock bands since we
left. In fact they just went out of business.

So here we are now - it's been a few years since Fear No Evil, how are
things going with 'Revolution'.

Things seem to be getting better all the time. We're going to be on a big
tour here in the states this summer with Alice Cooper, Dokken and Warrant and
radio support seems to be increasing all the time.

I think the album is great! Possibly my favourite Slaughter record.
What was the intention going in to making this album?
Just to make good music. We weren't trying to follow any trends. We enjoy
making music and we're glad we still have the freedom to do so.

Was it to make something a little different?
We wanted to try a few different things. We always like to experiment. Our
main love is good hard rock music though.

Just going through the tracks if we can.....Can you comment on each one?
American Pie is already picking up steam for you. Great anthem (laid back

We all love the groove, reminds me of the seventies.

Heaven It Cries...heavy, different.
Going over great live. It's one of all our favourites to play.

Tongue 'N Groove....Heavy grooving tune!! Big bass!
Kinda reminds me of some old VVI stuff. Lot's of people who say it's their

Can We Find A Way...hit tune all over it!
Great vibe. Haven't tried it live but it's one of my personal favourite.

Stuck On You....psychedelic?
You kinda have to have a sense of humour to enjoy that one!

Hard To Say Goodbye....another single?
Yes, it will probably be a single. It's going great in Japan already.
Another favourite of ours.

great live tune. We play it at the beginning of the set.

Mark's kid's first word. He kind of wrote it for him.

Heat Of The Moment....great melody.
Great sexy groove. Lots of females seem to like it.

Rocky Mountain Way...
We used to play that as an encore on our last tour and people seemed to love
it. We were just messing around with it in the studio and decided to record

You're My Everything....catchy as hell...single?

Reminds me of some of our earlier music. It's a favourite of a lot of people here

I'm Gone...the heaviest thing by the band yet? Huge!!
That's the first song in our live set. Great song to get the crowd going.
Ad Majorem.....
We use it as an intro to our show. Cool mood piece.

And finally, you guys support your fans on line, with sites and e-mail.
Do you enjoy that side of things?

It's been great to be able to communicate directly with fans on the Internet.
It helps to keep people informed about new music.

And when did you get into that side of things?
I started getting into computers about six years ago to help with audio
editing in the studio and songwriting.

Anything you want to add to the fans out there?

We're having a great time on tour this year so we hope to see you all soon.
We also look forward to coming to Australia soon!

Thanks a bunch mate!!


Axe's Bobby Barth (1997)

Bobby Barth is the guitarist, producer and songwriter in Axe. The band that have produced a brand new album after 15 years of just 'hanging out'. But he hasn't been idle in the meantime. Bobby runs his own production/management company, has built his own studio, and recently produced and helped new U.S act C.I.T.A break out a couple of good albums.

So Bobby, it's been a long time between drinks for Axe, eh?
Hey Andrew, no Man , we always got together to drink , we just didnt record!!

So what led you guys to reform?
We had always stayed in touch with the idea of someday going into the studio, but it never worked out, schedule wise, until this year.
With a few of the records I have produced doing pretty well, MTM asked about an Axe reunion record, I called everyone and we stocked up on beer and cut the record.

It doesn't sound like you have skipped a beat! How was it to get back in the studio after all thses years?
I was amazed at how much better everyone played, how much more mature they were, music wise...and age wise...If we could have been this together back in the 70's and 80's we could have chined the world. It was like we had never been apart, Edgar emptied ash trays , I yelled, and Teddy got pissed and went to sleep. The new guys didn't know what to think.

Yeah, great!? You have not been a stranger to the studio in recent years besides Axe. How did you get involved with the band Caught In The Act?
C.I.T.A. came to my attention right after my stint with Angry Anderson, the week I got back from Sydney, an old buddy called from Colorado and asked me to produce a demo for a band he booked, I flew out from L.A. and fell in love with the band. It was like going back 20 years and looking in a mirror. At a time when everyone was doing Alternative crap, C.I.T.A wanted to do songs, what more could I ask for ? I got them a deal in Europe and Japan, and have been looking out for them ever since.

Both their albums ahve had a positive response, has it been a positive experience for you?
Yes, its been great for both of us, unlike a lot of young bands who think they know everything, and are to stubborn to ask for help when they find out they don't, C.I.T.A has been open to work through what ever needed to be talked about, and have been like pros from day one.

How about their future plans, will you be involved again?
My company, Barth/Turner manages C.I.T.A., so I take an active interest in all parts of their biz. We will be going back in the studio this summer to do their 3rd record.

It sounds like you may have had some influence over the band.Does it help for a young band to have a guiding hand such as yourself?
Depends on the guiding hand. Axe had one, and it guided us into a brick wall going about 90 miles an hour. I think I have less influence than you might think, it just happens that we like the same music. The C.I.T.A guys were all Axe fans and started out learning melodic rock songs as young kids.

Are there any other acts you are or have been working with?
I do about 4 albums a year, right now I am working with a pop band called the Tremors and it should be out later this year, also a southern rock band called The Red Rock Roosters, also due this year. There is one other band we are just starting called Wishdoctor, its kind of a 9 inch nails / C.I.T.A., its gonna be fun.

Any you would like to work with?
Angry Anderson, I lost touch with Angry after I left the band and I must tell you I think he is one of the best guys on the planet, if someone has an e-mail for him, let me know. I would put him in the studio anytime... and thats a little easier now that I own the studio.

Back to Axe, what plans do the band have?
10. We are working on songs for a new Axe record late in the year (to start anyway). And we may try to tour Europe in the fall. Bob Harris (Axe) and Danny Martinez (C.I.T.A.) and myself went to Germany in March and did some acoustic gigs, we had a killer time, so I would do that again in a heartbeat.

What do you think about the scene there at the moment? I am seeing and hearing a slow return to classic rock.
The scene in the U.S. sucks, it has become a crime to know how to play your guitar...tune...or write a melody. I agree that it is slowly coming around, I have seen this twice before.

How has the response been to the album, in the US and in Europe.
In Europe its doing great, and here in the U.S. we havnt really released it properly, our company sells only over the internet, and the business is good.

What part if any, does the internet play for you, the label, and the band?
As I said before we market all of our acts via the internet and the N.E.H. Records website http://www.nehrecords.com we all love the net, it helps us to be able to talk to the fans and find out what they are thinking.

What are your plans for the future? Anything you would like to do?
We plan a CD later this year, and I just want to continue to produce and write until I get sick of it.

Anything you would like to mention or plug?!
Just want to invite everyone on the web to come and visit the NEH web site!

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