With the recent release of My Book Of Answers, and Ken no longer with us, I wondered who’d be out there promoting it. But, checking out youtube I see that Ken’s manager and friend Steve Weltman was doing a fine job in a few interviews I watched, so I sent Steve some questions in hopes that he [or someone] could drop me some responses, which he kindly obliged. *Check out my review posted a few days ago My Book Of Answers, and at the end of I’ve included links to other interviews from youtube with Steve Weltman – all very informative and interesting listening on his time with Ken, as well as some of earlier career in the music business – which included his start making tea for The Beatles, working [and running] Charisma Records, as well as being at RCA in the late ’70s and working on a number of David Bowie albums – Low, Heroes, Scary Monsters and and Stage.
Can you tell me about the main band that played throughout this album – Tommy Lopez, Izzy Cueto, and Moises Caruzo? And how they ended up working with Ken on this project?
Ken knew these players purely through his time in Spain and that Tommy knew them. [*Note: Tommy Lopez also played on Ken’s The Last Dance and Cold Autumn Sunday]
What were the first [few] tracks put together for My Book Of Answers? And at what point did Ken decide he was going to make a full album of Vladimir’s poems?
The first poems Ken worked on were “Stand” and “Silent Scream”. Soon after the first home demo of Stand and then the recording of the same it became clear it would form the core of a new album.
(2) The Silent Scream – YouTube
How fast were these songs put together, once things got going? [Any time frame of the whole recording?]
Ken started work on ideas late 2019 and the recording period was on and off up to June 2020. After this mastering and artwork were planned.
With everyone’s parts being recorded separately, how were songs presented and discussed – whether they’d be upbeat, rockers, ballads… ?
Once Ken had formed the song and it’s direction then he discussed with all involved in each song what he was looking for.
What is the vocal effect used on Ken’s vocals on “Lost”? and who or why was this done?
Ken wanted his voice to appear “Lost”. The effect is just a plug in.
“Right Here Right Now” musically is really Uriah Heep’s “The Hanging Tree” (1977). I am curious how this 1 was brought up?
Ken was working on the poem from Vladimir for this song and felt it would work really well, as it did. Highly regarded in various reviews of the album.
I really like the added heavy guitar at the end of “Right Here, Right Now”, as well as the guitar sound in “The Cold Sacrifice”. Was there a good bit of input from the players and back & forth on what would work in each song?
Ken had definite ideas for these parts but of course gave Izzy room to interpret.
(2) Right Here, Right Now – YouTube
The backing ‘choir’ on “Stand” really adds to the song. Was this Ken’s idea and how was it arranged?
Ken wanted backing vocals but given the virus was not sure how to go about this. I suggested the three girls who I had worked with on other projects and two of them with Ken. Ken wanted to use Roberto also who of course is from Live Fire.
They all recorded their parts at home and filmed themselves on their phones for us to use in the video.
David Gonzalez plays piano on a couple of tracks – particularly the intro to “The Darkest Hour” stands out. Who was he and how did he become involved, as opposed to Ken playing any piano himself? [There was another piano player as well]
When it came to recording Ken was always happier when someone else played the piano. Again as with other players he was aware of him locally.
Tommy is credited with strings on a few tracks [and keyboards] – curious how the strings came about and if they’re real or done through a keyboard program?
Strings on the album were programmed by Tommy, but for the concert we used real players. Strings were absolutely Ken’s idea.
(2) The Darkest Hour – YouTube
Was there any tracks leftover from the making of My Book Of Answers?
There was not.
Can anyone offer any insight in to the cover art [and/or the person who created it]? And the packaging concept by Hugh Gilmour? Was Ken a part of the packaging/art choices?
The Russian artist is known to Vladimir and Ken. The insight was just an interpretation of the title. We have worked with Hugh before and the package was his idea but of course discussed and approved by Ken.
There was a live performance of the album!? When was this and was it filmed or recorded for possible future viewing or release? [Was the entire album performed?]
There was a show performed in October 2021 of the entire album with all the musicians (including strings) but not backing vocals (on Stand). It was recorded and filmed. We will start looking at it during the year ahead.
*Another interview with Steve, recently posted – Vintage Rock Pod – podfollow.com
*for more on My Book Of Answers [or to order]: www.cherryred.co.uk