As I recently wrote about, Canadian rocker Carl Dixon [of Coney Hatch fame] has a new solo album to be released in November. The album “Unbroken” is his first solo rock album in 18 years. It is also, as Carl details, very much a collaboration with German musician Robby Boebel [of Frontline & Phantom 5]. Below Carl discusses the making of the new album and the songs, as well as drops plans for future projects and shows.
For more on Carl and ordering info for Unbroken go to – http://www.carldixon.com
Also, find him on Facebook.
What initiated the whole project – to record another rock album? [when we spoke after CH4 you said you didn’t know if the world was ready for another Carl Dixon solo rock album] 🙂
I was ready to do another Rock album now; I like all music if it’s good. Somebody asked me nicely! There’s a German label called AOR Heaven, and it’s run by Georg Seigl. I met Georg at Firefest 2011 in Nottingham England, when Coney Hatch performed there. He was the first to offer Coney Hatch a deal for a reunion album. We ended up doing it with Frontiers instead, but I stayed in touch with Georg and it was his request for me to do a new Carl Dixon album.
How did idea to with Robby Boebel come about? Why let someone else produce as opposed to doing it yourself?
I stayed in touch with Georg and it was his request for me to do a new Carl Dixon album with Robby – who is a well-known guy in Germany and Europe. That was the deal – to work with Robby as the producer; although in fact we co-produced to a large extent. Robby said to me “I don’t like this word ‘Producer'”
Did you guys ever meet in person or was everything done through correspondence / computer?
It began as e-mails with song ideas attached, then we started having Skype calls to work things out but we’ve never actually stood in the same room, no.
What all did Robby Boebel do – as far as co-writing, guitar, keyboards?
Robby worked up instrumental song demos, then did the final guitars and keyboards after the songs were written.
Can I assume you wrote most of the lyrics!?
Yes, I wrote all lyrics. It was easier than I expected, Robby kept putting really good music ideas in front of me.
Where & when did you record your parts [vocals, guitars]? How were the final tracks put together?
There’s no guitar playing by me on this album. All the vocals were recorded here at my studio and sent to Germany; “Away ya go kids, have a nice trip!”.
Robby mixed it all at his place in Nuremberg.
Strange feeling not playing any of the guitars!?
It was actually a neat change to not have so much responsibility, but rather enjoy responding to someone else’s ability.
Drumming was shared by Mark Santer and Dylan Gowan – how did that work out? [Dylan related to Lawrence?]
It worked out fine; neither drummer could commit to the full slate of songs, so I split it up between them. Dylan is Lawrence’s son.
Talk about some of the tracks –
My Love & Hopes For You – closest thing to a ballad here. Personal topic ?
I won’t go into the personal story behind it, although every song is personal to the man or woman who writes it. All My Love and Hopes is an expression of the longing we feel when we lose touch with somebody we care about but still feel the love for them.
Nothing Lasts Forever – about Coney days. Love the use of CH titles. Did you have a bit of fun with this one?
Yeah I really enjoyed writing and singing Nothing Lasts Forever. I hadn’t intended to write “The Story of Coney Hatch” when we began this album but the Hatch guys are among my oldest friends. I guess I was feeling a bit nostalgic as I worked on a rock album without them, so one of Robby’s music ideas just lead me there.
This Isn’t The End – about anyone?
This Isn’t The End actually sprang from a couple of lines I had written on the back of an envelope back when Coney Hatch was winding down in the 80’s: “Brothers we became, and brothers we will stay, but brothers now the time has come for me to go my own way”. I wrote the rest of the song after I heard the music track from Robby, and it’s a bittersweet kind of feeling in the lyric. “I’ve gotta go, but I’m sure gonna miss you”.
Keep The Faith? Unbroken? – Songs inspired by current happenings out there [!?]
Yes, especially Unbroken. That was the first song I wrote for this project and it is definitely a response to the maddening events of our times. Keep The Faith, the key to that song is the line “No matter how we’re tested, hope will endure”.
Drive Just Drive – Love the harder-edged tracks, a song of frustrations?
There’s a long line of Rock songs that are saying “Let’s Get Outta Here!” Or maybe it’s just me…
Summer Nights – fun tune, the most ’80s feel on here [?]
If this was the 80’s Summer Nights would be the first single to radio from this album! I love the story in the lyric.
Every Step of The Way & Bowl Me Over – My 2 faves here.
Good choices. Most of the lyrics on this album are inspired by the feelings I have for my Australian wife Helen, and the stories of what we go through together.
Can’t Love A Memory is the most recognizable Carl Dixon tune here – and easiest to pick as lead off track — Fair statement? Where did this track come from?
Funny enough, Can’t Love A Memory was the final song written for the album, and for sure one of the strongest. Robby and I really got into a rhythm of understanding each other in the songwriting as the process went along. That one came out when we realized we needed one more song, and I consider it one of the best ones here. It’s about recognizing that being stuck in the past or on an old feeling is pretty unhelpful when it comes to building your life. Life is meant to be lived forward.
What other projects on the horizon – solo or band stuff?
Always new things on the horizon! I’m compiling an album of unreleased recordings and demos, kind of like Pete Townshend’s “SCOOP” releases, that will bring to light some good things that never made it to albums yet.
Robby and I are already discussing a follow-up to Unbroken for a year from now.
Canadian distribution for Unbroken – will it be in Sunrise? Who’s distributing here? Be cool to see it on the shelf!
I don’t know any details yet, but Sunrise is a good idea. Album distribution is such a scattershot thing these days!
Do you foresee plans to play this material live -be it here or in Europe [if there are any invites]?
Yes, I’m working on European dates next year for this. There doesn’t seem to be a Canadian market for such shows.
Do you think all the changes that you went through after your accident, and with your recovery — that your outlook on life has changed in that you’re more open and more willing to take on more chances and try new projects that perhaps you may not have considered years ago?
Certainly it has. I am open to everything that might be enjoyable now. Life is fleeting. Why hold yourself back? I dabble in a lot of things, excel at a few. It’s fun.
Happen to have a ‘bucket list’ of players you’d like to work with [within reason]?
Many of the people I would have put on such a list have left the planet. Simon Kirke – I’d love to record some tracks with him on drums. Lee Aaron – she’s an old friend and I’d love to record a duet with her.
I wrote a song once that I hoped to get Rik Emmitt and Lawrence Gowan to sing with me; still waiting for that one.
What are you in to [listening] these days?
Miles Davis – all phases of his output; Baroque masterpieces; Bad Company- Straight Shooter; UNBROKEN!
CARL DIXON Solo Discography:
One – 1993
Into The Future – 2001
One Voice, Two Hands – 2003
Lucky Dog – 2001
Snow – 2013
Whole ‘Nother Thing – 2017
Interview Oct. ’19