Kevin DuBrow – 2004 Interview

 November of 2017 marked 10 years since Kevin DuBrow’s passing. This was an interview I did with him in 2004 to promote the release of his solo album In For The Kill. It was one of my favorite interviews. Kevin had a love for a lot of the same great ’70s hard rock as myself, and was very easy and down to earth to talk with.  Quiet Riot [who lead the LA scene in the early 80s] were huge in the ’80s, and although the band was past their peak at this point, DuBrow could still belt ’em out. RIP. 

 Kevin DuBrow was the frontman for legendary LA metal band QUIET RIOT since the mid ’70s.  Back then the band was relatively unknown outside of the LA scene, but also featured a young guitarist named Randy Rhoads. A few years later Rhoads would become internationally known playing on the first 2 Blizzard of Ozz albums [before passing away in a plane crash in March of ’82]. DuBrow however had kept the Quiet Riot name going with guitarist Carlos Cavazo, drummer Frankie Banali [later to work with WASP] and bass players Rudy Sarzo [also with Ozzy’s band] and Chuck Wright. The band was a huge success in the early ’80s with such albums as Metal Health and Condition Critical, both of which featured a few hit singles and great videos. [most notably a Slade cover on each!] 


By ’87 DuBrow was out of the band [following QR III], but revised things in the early ’90s following a short stint as ‘Heat’ with Cavazo. From 1993 to 2001 Quiet Riot would release another string of CDs before splitting in the fall of 2003.
In May of ’04 Shrapnel Records released Kevin DuBrow’s solo album In For The Kill, which was an album of covers, mostly obscure ’70s classics by the likes of Deep Purple, Nazareth, the Sweet, Montrose and more. DuBrow had also put together a new band and was on the road as part of the “Bad Boys of Metal” Summer tour, which also featured Jani Lane [ex Warrant singer, RIP] and Steven Adler [ex of Guns N Roses].  

You can still find In For The Kill on Amazon. Frankie Banali still carries the Quiet Riot flag these days – touring, and a new album > https://quietriot.band/

Q – Can you tell me a bit about your new solo album?
K – In For the Kill was something I was approached to do in December of last year by Mike Varney from Shrapnel Records. He wanted me to do an album of all cover tunes; actually he wanted Quiet Riot to do it, but Quiet Riot had broken up in September. So, it was something I wanted to do for many many years; I had planned on doing with Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali. I had the songs selected already, so it happened very quickly. We agreed on a price, we agreed on the songs, we went in the studio within 10 days.

Q – So, it was pretty quickly done!?
K – Yes, we just had to find the right musicians. Some guys he had lined up to do it, and one guy I really wasn’t thrilled about using, so we changed one of the players, and we got in a great line-up of guys. He has this great guitar player named Kevin Curry that’s just really got the spirit of the thing down, because it’s a real 70s album in the sense that it’s all songs from that era and the 80s guitar players wouldn’t really be able to cop the feel correctly. So we got Kevin Curry who really pulled it off well. He got Michael Lardie, who was going to record & mix it and also ended up co-producing it with me. He’s super-talented and a really nice guy.

Q – How did you go about picking the songs?
K – They’re obscure covers, like b-sides and outtakes. There’s only one well known song – ‘Stay With Me’ [by The Faces]. Otherwise, it’s ‘Red Light Mama’ [by Humble Pie], ‘Burn On The Flame’ [by The Sweet], ‘Good Rocking Tonight’ [by Montrose], ‘Rolling With My Baby’ [by Silverhead], ‘Drivin Sister’ [Mott The Hoople]. Most of these songs have not been covered before.

Q – That’s good, because most cover albums tend to feature the same songs over and over.
K – Correct. I didn’t want to do ‘Smoke On The Water’, Again!

Q – Why an album of covers as opposed to an album of originals?
K – Because when you do an album of covers every song is great, when you do an album of brand new songs, only a few songs are great. He [Mike Varney] didn’t really want to do a new album from me at that time although I have a whole album’s worth of material written. I wanted to do an album with Glenn Hughes, my good friend from Deep Purple. We’ve been friends for a long time and we’ve been wanting to do something together for a long time, and we probably will next year. But this is what he wanted to do. So, it was an easy way for me to release a record quickly. I was not objected to it at all.

Q – How did you approach doing the covers? There’s a few cover albums out there where they kind of do a note for note cover and then you get a few others that are a bit more experimental.

K – I’m in the middle. I did the arrangements very similar to the originals, but they weren’t note for note. They were with our personalities. We didn’t try to copy the originals but we didn’t try to do it like, say … some of those Hendrix cover albums, where they completely re-do them.

Q – Who else is on the album, other than Kevin [Curry, the guitar player]?
K – Michael Lardie played keyboards and produced with me, Jeff Martin [from Racer X] is on drums, and a guy named Gunter Nezhoda’s bass.

Q – Who’s in your touring band?
K – Jeff Martin on drums, Chuck Wright on bass, and Alex Grossi on guitar. It’s a really good little band.

Q – Are you doing a lot of the covers or mixing it up with the Quiet Riot stuff?
K – We’re doing 3 songs from ‘In For The Kill’ and the rest is Quiet Riot stuff.

Q – Are you changing the 3 around?
K – The same 3. The 3 that I really like doing – ‘Burn On The Flame’, ‘Red Light Mama’ and ‘Good Rocking Tonight’.

Q – Was there any songs that you recorded or considered recording that you took off or decided against at the last minute?
K – We started to record ‘I Ain’t Superstitious’ by The Jeff Beck band, and right at that time we started having major equipment problems, so we took it as an omen that we were done with the tracking.

Q – Growing up and listening to a lot of the early 70s stuff, did you have much of a preference of the British bands or the American bands?
K – I liked the British bands much better. I mean, I liked Montrose. That was the only American band from the 70s I liked. I didn’t care for many American bands. I was a big British rock guy.

Q – Humble Pie!?
K – Loved them! … Free, Spooky Tooth, Bloodwyn Pig – all that stuff! We did a song by Quatermass, ‘Black Sheep Of The Family’.

Q – That’s the Rainbow song!?
K – Yes, that’s the same song. They covered Quatermass’ version. I did the Quatermass’ arrangement.

Q – What will you follow this album up with?
K – I’m going to do an album of originals later in the year. I’ve got the songs written pretty much. And I want to do it with, like, say Glenn, Frankie Banali on drums, somebody cool on guitar, somebody real ’70s’ on guitar; like a Ronnie Montrose or Pat Travers – somebody like that. Someone that’s got that whole bluesy thing going on. I don’t want to use somebody that’s a real ‘Whammy’ Bar, 80s kind of a guy – I’m sick of that kind of guitar playing. There’s nothing wrong with it, I’ve just had my fill of it for a while. It doesn’t have a lot of feel to me.

Q – Are you nervous about being out as a solo artist as opposed to being part of a band?
K – I never even think about it. I’m just out there doing what I feel I need to do for myself. I was always the main songwriter in Quiet Riot, and the lead singer, so whatever I do is going to have a certain distinctive sound to it. It’s up to the people, if they like it and purchase and come see me play. I always try my best to give a good live show.

Q – What’s the status of the guys and Quiet Riot? I know you’re friends with Frankie. Do you have any intentions of working with those guys in the future?

K – Me and Frankie are definitely going to do something together again. I haven’t spoken to Carlos since the band broke up. Definitely, Rudy Sarzo won’t be involved in anything having to do with anything I do for the rest of my years on this planet. Life’s too short. I want to do things that make me happy, not things that make me miserable.

Q – I take it, it was a frustrating time over the past few years!?

K – OH yes, very unpleasant!

Q – The last few albums you guys did weren’t too bad. I liked ‘Alive & Well’ a lot. What did you think of that period as far as the albums were concerned?

K – Some songs were better than others. I liked the guy that produced Alive & Well, Bob Marlette. He was real easy to work with. He made it real easy. He really knew how to use the Pro-Tools technology. The song ‘Don’t Know What I Want’ [from Alive & Well] was one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written. There’s some other songs on there…once again, I don’t like to write by committee, so when you get people involved in the songwriting process that aren’t songwriters it can be difficult and frustrating. ‘Guilty Pleasures’ was a lot easier to write, but the guy that produced it wasn’t really a producer, didn’t know what he was doing, so it made the mixing process difficult. I prefer the ‘Terrified’ album we did in ’93. I really like that. It’s heavier, it’s angrier; it’s ballsier, less pop-ish. But the rhythm section … we couldn’t play blues oriented stuff…..

Q – Who’s idea was it to do the remakes on the Alive & Well album?
K – That was Cleopatra’s idea. I hated the idea. I hated the way they turned out too; they’re awful!

Q – Was it just a quick sell idea?
K – Yes, that was their idea. I thought it was just garbage. I can’t express how much I hate those versions.

Q – And you did the AC/DC song on there?
K – That was different. That was for an AC/DC tribute album, and I really quite liked the way that turned out. That was on a one-day recording from beginning to end. It had a lot of energy and a lot of spark and we did it our own way. That I dug.

Q – One thing I like about you guys that you could always recognize, from Terrified, Live & Well, and the earlier ones, that not just because of your voice, but it’s obviously the same band and you never got in to all the experimental crap that the ’90s had.
K – It wouldn’t have been believable from us.

Q – Another thing I’ve always liked about the band is Frankie’s drumming, because he’s one of those drummers that you can actually recognize the drums with.
K – Great drummer! Cozy Powell was like that too. And playing with Frankie is a joy because of that reason.

Q – If you listen to the stuff he did on the WASP albums, he makes a world of difference.
K – For sure.

Q – Was it ever frustrating during the late 80s / early 90s, where you’re connected to that 1 [or 2] albums that were huge and then not getting that same backing again?
K – No. That’s the nature of the business. It’s sort of like evolution. In the evolutionary scale dinosaurs die off and certain animals eat their young. It’s the nature of the business. The business eats it’s young.

Q – You had a few other things during the late 80s/ early 90s, like ‘Heat’!?
K – That was basically me and Carlos doing Quiet Riot with a different rhythm section.

Q – What else do you have in the works?
K – Well, this tour starts, and that’s going to be my big focus. It should be really interesting – 11 guys on a 12 bunk bus starting next week for a month. It should be insane

Q – What are some of your own favorite recording moments?

K – I really like ‘Don’t Know What I Want’ [from Alive & Well] because I really love the song. It turned out so great. ‘Love’s A Bitch’ was great. We did ‘Metal Health’ because it turned out so much different than we expected it to turn out. ‘Bang Your Head’ was probably one of my greatest moments because it sounded like I envisioned it to sound when it was done.

Q – Your album’s not so much ‘metal’. Do you perceive yourself getting away metal stuff and doing more things like blues-rock?
K – Yes, hard-rock / blues-rock – like Free and Humble Pie. But, if Quiet Riot got back together next year we would do a very metal record. And if Quiet Riot ever does get back together I want to continue doing solo stuff because Carlos Cavazo is not a very bluesy guitar player. He can’t do the bluesy stuff I want to do – which is OK, because he sounds right for Quiet Riot. I’d like to do other things. 

Q – Can you tell me any of Randy’s guitar influences?
K – Yes, Bill Nelson from Be-Bop Deluxe; he loved him. He loved Johnny Winter, Leslie West, Glen Buxton from the Alice Cooper Group, Mick Ronson.

Q – What did you think of the 2 albums he did with Ozzy?
K – I thought they were produced badly, I didn’t think they sounded good [I still don’t]. I think the guitar playing was great. I think some of the songwriting’s very cool.

Q – What did you think of that original line-up with Bob & Lee?
K – It was good. I think that Bob’s a great bass player, a really inventive songwriter, and Lee is a great basher drummer and plays what’s right for the songs. That was the band to me.

Q – Are you familiar with Bob & Lee’s stuff with Uriah Heep?
K – I know Lee’s still with Uriah Heep. I saw Uriah Heep a million times. I got to meet Lee and Trevor Bolder. When Metal Health came out in 1983, we were in France and the French record label took us out to dinner and Heep was playing the same city. And Trevor Bolder was a HUGE hero of all of our’s, being with Bowie, and he was in Uriah Heep. So, we took Lee, Bob and Mick Box out to dinner with the French label. And, it was great! I saw Uriah Heep open for Deep Purple in like 1971 and they blew Deep Purple off the stage! So, we loved the guys. And Randy Rhoads adored Lee! He thought he was the greatest guy. And he’s the one who told me Lee wrote all the vocal melodies that Ozzy sang. I’ve not met Bob Daisley in person, but I have had correspondence with him over the e-mail, he seems like a really nice guy.

Q – Do you have any favorite old Heep songs?
K – We almost did one for this [solo] album. We were going to do ‘Tears In My Eyes’, but when I went to sing it, it really wasn’t in the register for me. I really wanted to do ‘Stealin’, but Mike Varney wouldn’t let me do it; he thought it was too down tempo. So, I’ll do it the next time.
I was a huge Uriah Heep fan. I loved all the bass players – Mark Clarke, Gary Thain…

Q – Yes, Mark Clarke went on to Billy Squier and was in to a bunch of stuff…
K – He was in a band ‘Tempest’; I loved them – with Alan Holdsworth and John Hiseman. I’m a huge collector of that stuff.

Q – What are you listening to these days?
K – I just got the Jeff Beck ‘Live At BB Kings’ in the mail today [because you can only get it from the web-site]. I love that; it’s really recorded well. I love Jeff Beck. I’ve been listening to some Type O Negative. I don’t buy too many records. I don’t like much new stuff that comes out, doesn’t really interest me.

Q – Do you find yourself [like me] looking for older bands with new albums?
K – Kind of…a lot of older bands have new albums, and I don’t like their new albums. Jeff Beck’s ‘Beckola’ album with Rod Stewart, they’ve re-released it with 4 new songs on it, so I’ve got to buy that.

Q – Lately I’ve picked up a bunch of Glenn Hughes solo stuff….
K – I got all of it his solo stuff, pretty much.

Q – The one that got me back in to him was ‘Crystal Karma’.
K – I love Crystal Karma! That’s my favorite solo album; that and ‘From Now On’. Midnight Meditated, Mojo – it’s a great record! I like From Now On, The Way It Is, I love the Burning Japan : Live. He has a DVD coming out, you know. It’s a live DVD and I sang back-up on it. And I also interviewed him for it.

Q – Is there any other people from your genre that you keep in touch with?
K – No, not like Glenn. Glenn and me have a connection. We have a really common sense of humor. Frankie Banali played drums on the Hughes/Thrall album, so I knew Glenn from that. Nobody like Glenn, Glenn’s a special animal.

Q – Is there anything you have to add about the new album?
K – Check it out. It’s got the best reviews of anything I’ve done in my career.
Thanks.

Links:

Quiet Riot: Kevin Dubrow on Metal Health Album, Randy Rhoads, Rudy Sarzo, Frankie, Carlos, Interview – YouTube

Kevin Dubrow: Quiet Riot lead singer | The Independent | The Independent

Keep On Rollin’ – The Book | Facebook

Interview: © KJ. /  July 2004

Rick Benton of MAGNUM – An interview

It was just over a year ago that fans of British band Magnum woke to the post that longtime keyboard player Mark Stanway had officially left the band, while on tour in the UK. Just after a month later it was announced that Rick Benton had joined the band, and had played on the band’s last few shows. He would play live with Magnum throughout 2016 and recorded with the band the brand new album “Lost On The Road To Eternity” – which is being released early in the new year.  Thanks to Al Barrow [Magnum’s bass player], I connected with Rick and sent him my questions for this interview – some insight in to Rick’s musical styles, influences, and his experiences thus far with Magnum!

 

Check out more about Rick at >

http://www.rickbenton.co.uk/

and > http://magnumonline.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/magnumbandpage/

 

What bands and artists did you grow up on – ones that had a major influence on you?

I grew up in a very musical household. Both parents played piano, (my dad played in a dance band and also played organ at the local church). My brother, sister and I all started piano lessons at a very early age and so music was always around us. We listened to a wide variety of genres, anything from Bach to the Beatles, Beethoven to Black Sabbath, Rachmaninoff to Rush! I was also very lucky at school to have a music teacher who was passionate about all styles of music, I remember we had a school orchestra, choir, jazz band and pop bands so we had the chance to ‘dip in’ to everything musical. I started ‘gigging’ when I was around 12 years old, meeting and playing with some great local musicians who helped me along my way. I also went to watch as many gigs as I could. I’m not sure I could accurately point to any individual influences – more a combination of all of the above to be honest.

Can you give me a ‘top 10’ of favorite albums from your early years?

Wow – very difficult question! I’ve always had a very diverse taste in music so this isn’t going to be an easy one to answer. For me, so many of my all-time favourite tracks are tucked away on albums that wouldn’t necessarily make this list – I’m much more of a ‘playlist’ listener than a whole album aficionado! Thinking back though, in no particular order, these are probably the albums that I listened to in their entirety most regularly (and in some cases still do!):

Peter Gabriel: So, Us Pearl Jam: 10 Rush: Moving Pictures Magnum: On a Storyteller’s Night Genesis: Genesis, Invisible Touch Toto: IV Bruce Hornsby and The Range: The Way It Is Steeley Dan: Aja Donald Fagan: The Nighfly Stevie Wonder: Inner Visions

You’ve also done theatre and teach. what music is your first love and favorite – rock, blues, theatrical?

I listen to such a wide variety of music depending on the mood I’m in – it could be jazz, classical, latin, blues…..but at the end of the day I’ve always been a bit of a rocker at heart!


Prior to joining Magnum, how familiar with the band were you? and / or any of their songs?

I remember getting ‘On a Storyteller’s Night’ when I was in my teens and loving the album – great song writing, performances and arrangements. I’ve followed the band since then so I was pretty familiar with many of their songs. I’d also met Tony on a number of occasions at Mark Stuart’s studio when he was based in Walsall. How exactly did you wind up joining Magnum? [details]

Last December I had a phone call from Mark (Magnum’s TM and Sound Engineer). We’ve known each other since the 90’s (Mark produced a number of recordings I did with The Lilac Groove and I’ve done keyboard sessions for him at his studio for a raft of artists over the years). He asked me if I was available over the following few days to join the tour for the final shows, explaining that Mark Stanway had decided the time was right for him to concentrate on other projects and had left the band. It took me about 1 second to say yes! I spent the next day scoring out the set from live video clips and recordings then joined up with the guys at the Wolverhampton gig and then travelled with them to do the last show in Edinburgh.

You would’ve had to learn a number of tracks in a hurry !? What are some of your favorite Magnum songs to perform as a keyboard player and as a listener?

They’re all fantastic to play for different reasons – that’s one of the greatest things about Magnum – you know instantly who you are listening to, but no two songs are the same. From a keyboard players perspective, some are about fitting in to the ‘groove’ backing up the guitar rhythms, some creating a ‘mood’ or ‘scene’ through sound and others are more ‘virtuoso’ with intricate piano lines and string arrangements.
Picking favourites is tricky because it can depend on your own mood at the time of playing but I would have to say that, from the current live set, Les Morts Dansant, Twelve Men Wise and Just, All England’s Eyes and When The World Comes Down encapsulate much of what’s great about playing keys for Magnum.

Magnum has some grand keyboard intros and solos throughout the catalogue. do you approach your playing to sticking true to what’s on record or are there any alterations in the way you perform certain tracks?

That’s an interesting question as many of the songs have developed from their original recording through decades of live performances. I’ll give you one example – Les Morts Dansant. On the album version, the intro is played on a pipes sound. On live performances this has become a very recognised piano intro. From a sound and notation perspective I learnt the set from live video footage and live recordings with the aim of remaining true to what audiences have become accustomed to. Obviously there will be subtle differences in my dynamics and feel as we all play slightly differently, but for me, staying true to these well-known intros and solos is very important as they are an integral part of incredibly crafted and well loved songs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ada-4aJFQ1U

You’ve had the chance to do some major festivals and tour with Magnum prior to the new album. what have been some of the highlights and any moments that stick out for you as a new member to the band and their audience?

The first thing that struck me and has been a constant highlight of every gig has been the obvious bond between the band and the fans. I know it’s a well used (sometimes over used!) comparison but it really does seem like one giant family. Talking to folk before and after the gigs has been great – I’ve certainly felt very ‘welcomed’. Tony, Bob, Al and Lee are all great guys to be around on and off stage and the crew are amazing – we’re certainly enjoying life on the road! Touring gigs and festivals? Take your pick – they’ve all been highlights!

How was the pre-production and recording experience for the new Magnum album? [detail your input and viewpoint of this whole process]. As Tony Clarkin writes the Magnum material, can you tell me how much freedom you had to expand on intros, solos, etc. – in the studio?

What a great experience! For me the process began with sitting with Tony and listening to the song demos he had recorded, talking through sound selections and arrangements and then starting to lay down my keyboard parts. There was plenty of encouragement and opportunity to put forward ideas as the recordings progressed (intros / solos / sound selection / arrangements etc.). Often we’d lay down several takes of a song, starting with a very basic rhythmic version and finishing with a full-on keyboard ‘notefest’. Tony would then decide which worked best for the song – on some of the tracks less was definitely more, on others the keyboards took a more prominent roll. Tony is not only an incredible musician and song writer but he is also a quite extraordinary producer – I learned so much from working under his guidance in terms of developing ideas and playing for the song – absolutely priceless!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2dGUQvHNEE

Having not heard the album, aside from the single [Without Love – which isn’t a keyboard heavy track]. what can you tell me about some of the other songs — any favorites? any big keyboard intros and solos?

From my perspective as a fan, I would say that this is very much an unmistakable Magnum album – Tony’s incredible songwriting and selection of subject matter re-counted through Bobs dramatic vocal story-telling runs right through the heart of it. Musically there are powerful guitar riffs, sweeping melodic solo’s, incredible drum grooves, all underpinned by Al’s signature rock solid bass lines and a title track which features a symphony orchestra playing an arrangement which I defy anyone to say doesn’t send shivers down the spine! Can I choose favourites? No – they all sound amazing to me and move me emotionally in very different ways! There’s definitely a couple of times where the keyboards take a ‘nod’ and a few that they start – I’ll let the listeners decide whether these are ‘big’!

Are there any of your own performances on the new album that you are looking forward to fans hearing?

To be honest I’m really looking forward to everyone being able to hear the album in its entirety – I’m beyond proud and honoured to have been involved in its creation – I just hope that my input has been faithful to the rich musical history of Magnum.

You must be looking forward to the upcoming tour, and performing new material that you are a part of!? Has it been decided on how many and which of the new tracks will feature in the Magnum live show? [if so, how was this process achieved?]

Naturally I’m very excited about the tour – we go in to rehearsals in the new year and then we’ll be off, hoping that our bus driver doesn’t get us “Lost On The Road To Eternity’ (I should say that he’s a great driver and we’ve all got satnav apps on our phones so I’m pretty sure we’ll find all the venues!). Regarding the set, Bob is the one who generally puts the show together. It’ll undoubtedly be a mix of classics and new material….I’m afraid I’m not at liberty to say any more than that (under a threat of limb removal!!).

You’re also a part of Rebecca Downes’ band. How different is that musically and in performance?

Musically it’s quite different – in Magnum I use a wide variety of sounds between the songs ranging from orchestral strings to lead synths, brass, vintage pads, acoustic piano, electric pianos, motion synths, organs etc. For Rebecca, I predominantly use three sounds – acoustic piano, Hammond and Rhodes. Playing wise they are very different genres and therefore my actual playing style changes somewhat – for example there’s much more improvisation required in Rebecca’s set with blues solos on piano and Hammond featuring in a number of her songs. From a performance perspective, any time on any stage should be treated in the same way – get on and give it 110%!

She has signed a North American deal[!?] – might we see you with her over here in North America in the near future?

I’m not sure about the near future as touring North America is a very expensive business, but you never know – I’d love to come back at some point!

What are you listening to these days, as a music fan? [any current albums or reissues you’ve picked up?]

I try to listen to anything and everything! Although I might not personally like all that’s out there, I’m very conscious of the fact that with so much music available to listen to, there’s always a surprise to enjoy and a lesson to learn! If pushed, I’d have to admit that right now, while I’m typing this response, I’m listening to a Christmas compilation that the kids have popped on…..thank goodness it’ll be over in a week or so (musically!).

 

*further links:

https://www.expressandstar.com/entertainment/2017/10/06/wolverhampton-blues-rocker-rebecca-downes-talks-ahead-of-midlands-shows/

http://workhardpr.com/magnum/magnum.php

 

KJJ, 12/17

Doogie White – Q & A : From the vaults (’99)

Doogie White became a name to classic / hard rock fans years back when the Scottish singer was chosen for the re-incarnated “Ritchie Blackmore’s RAINBOW”. With Rainbow, White sang on the album “Stranger In Us All”, which was well received by long time Rainbow / Blackmore fans. He also toured the globe with Blackmore’s Rainbow, before Blackmore decided to move on to other projects and split up his latest version of Rainbow, leaving Doogie White to look for a new gig. Prior to Rainbow, White had sang in the UK band Midnight Blue, and appeared on 2 English Steel albums [produced by Lea Hart], which featured a number of other British rock veterans.  I swapped notes with Dougie about a few things, and he answered my questions here. The man reveals some interesting info about his past, his time with Rainbow, and his current happenings!

*Since this interview, originally posted in October of ’99,  Doogie White has become one of the best and hardest working singers out there. White has recorded numerous albums with numerous acts. I am way behind, loved the Praying Mantis album he did way back, but after more recently getting the 2 Demon’s Eye albums he did in 2011 & 2015, and lately picking up the Michael Schenker Group albums he’s on, I am keen to get caught up [currently watching a live show on youtube with Tank!] .

anyway, for more info check out http://www.doogiewhite.com [this site needs updating], or look Doogie up on facebook!
Q) First album you ever bought?
D) Warner Bros. Music Show, with the Doobies, Little Feat, Montrose
Q) Favorite bands, musos, singers in your early days?
D) David Bowie, Roy Wood, Tom Jones, The Monkees, The Beatles
Q) What was-your first pro band? [when did you get into it full-time?]
D) Strangely it was Midnight Blue in ’88. Although I was in La Paz for 4 years but it was semi pro. We released 2 cassette albums.
Q) Did any of these bands feature anyone else of significance in later years?
D) MB’s guitarist went on to play with GUN, Bruce Dickinson and currently guitarist with pop sensation Robbie Williams. MB’s keyboard player Jem Davis – played with UFO and FM. The La Paz Boys took the other road and made millions in computers property and mining.
Q) What kind of music was Midnight Blue? any album releases?
D) 80`s AOR but a bit heavier than most.
Q) Any band comparisons?
D) We released “Take The Money And Run ” on Zero in Japan. Not really I didn’t listen to AOR so I couldn’t say. Alex liked Jake E Lee, so maybe it was like that.


Q) Midnight Blue did some gigs with Uriah Heep back in 89 or 90, what do you recall of these? any good stories??
D) I had a question that I’d always wanted to ask and when the opportunity to do so arose I did. It went something like this…….. “Trevor can I ask you a question?” He sighed as he thought he knew what was coming , another BOWIE question perhaps. “How come you’re credited for singing the last song on Conquest when it is clearly JS. He brightened up at that and told me why.  [RIP TB]
Q) You were also involved in the English Steel projects — what was this all about?
D) It was British Steel and was an album released by Metal Hammer in 89/90 to promote British bands to a wider audience. Magazines have done this for years.
Q) [I attached a section from my Sloman discography about the English Steel albums]. If it ain’t the same thing, what did you do on this?
D) AHHH so this is where they went… Gotcha’ya, Lea Hart! Well I did some stuff for Lea and he does have a reputation for making up compilation albums so this is probably one of those. I don’t have it, I only had a crackly demo of the songs I sang.
Q) Familiar with the “Metal Christmas” project which includes many of the same names as on English Steel albums?
D) Yes, my Mate Andy Barnett plays guitar on this
Q) What else had you been involved with during the 90s prior to Rainbow?
D) After MB imploded, for whatever reason – I did a lot of session singing for various Publishing houses, singing songs written for artists like Cher, Tom Jones, Paul Carrick to name a few. Also I got involved with several writers whose demos I sang. I did an album with some friends under the name of Chain. Heavier rock than usual.
Q) Any releases? [any info, label….]
D) The Chain album is on JVC Victor in Japan and is called “Eros of Love and Destruction”. I liked it though it was just demos.

Q) You auditioned for Iron Maiden when Bruce left!?
D) Yes, 2 times
Q) What happened with that?
D) I was first in and last in. I sang 20 songs over an afternoon with them. I got a better appreciation for them and Bruce after that; it was hard work. I would have really loved to be in Maiden but then I couldn’t have been in Rainbow and that was where I had wanted to be since I was 15. Obviously they gave the gig to Blaze.

Q) How did you come to work with Rainbow?
D) I had given a tape to Colin Hart Purple’s tour manager when JLT was singing for them, when Ritchie left he called me and asked if I’d come to NY and sing for him.
Q) Audition?
D) 5 days worth
Q) Who else auditioned when you did?
D) No one, I was the only choice

http://deep-purple.family-tree.org/Rainbow/discography/official.htm http://deep-purple.family-tree.org/Rainbow/discography/official.htm

Q) Did you feel any pressure following in the footsteps as such great singers as RJ Dio, Graham Bonnet, and Joe Lynn Turner??
D) Not pressure as such but, I knew as a fan what I’d have wanted in the new Rainbow singer and strived to deliver that.
Q) How do you feel your vocals and contributions to Rainbow compared to theirs?
D) That’s not for me to say, others will judge me. I was pleased with my input as was Ritchie and I have to say the fans were very generous in their reviews and appraisals.
Q) How were songs written between yourself and Ritchie?
D) He jammed the music I jammed the melodies and lyrics and wallah… a song.

Q) How much input did the various members have in Rainbow compared to how much it Ritchie controlled / lead ?
D) It was Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow – he made the decisions. At times he was open to suggestions, and if I felt strongly about something I’d speak up. But he has been at the top of the tree for a long time so he does have a fairly good idea of what is what even if sometimes his decisions seem off the wall
Q) How was Ritchie [in your view] working with?
D) *I loved the man and his music, it was not difficult for me until outside forces wanted a career and influenced him, then he would pull me up on the most trivial things. It got irritating to be scolded like a naughty boy

Q) What were some of your fave tracks from the “Strangers…” album?
D) I have good feeling about them all.
Q) Any stand out? Any stories?
D) We wrote “Hunting Humans” in 45 minutes, it was just so fast where “Silence” was like pulling teeth we had so many ideas for that one. “Black Mask” was another that went through changes I was happy with the way it came out. “Ariel” was great although I had only input into how the vocals should be as it was a folk song Candy and Ritchie had written for their own thang. Personally I’d would have liked a more free reign lyric – wise but Ritchie wanted lyrics that “girls would like”, I felt intimidated and gave in. When Ritchie was awake we all had to be awake and he chucked A meat cleaver at my door to waken me…. and then a tin of cat food, then corn flakes. It was a splendid time and I took it all with good humor.


Q) How well was the band received live?
D) Very well, I had a blast every night We picked up lots of fan voted awards in Japan , Germany, South America.
Q) What stuff did you enjoy doing the most?
D) Easier to say what I didn’t enjoy. I didn’t see the point in “smoke on the water” its been done to death that’s why I gave the mic. To the crowd to sing it.
Q) Did you guys get any flack from ‘Purple nuts?
D) No flack at all that I heard except in Brazil when a Dio nut was giving me grief from the front of the stage, I demanded his DIO shirt and wore it for the rest of the show, sang a bit of ELF and gave him a beer.

Q) Why did the band ‘break up’?
D) It a long story, let’s just say Ritchie wanted to do other things
Q) Do you still have contact with Ritchie?
D) Not directly.
Q) What do you think of his current stuff
D) I enjoyed the first record a lot.
Q) and would you / could you foresee another Rainbow project in the future with yourself involved?
D) Lovely thought but unlikely, he has to dominate people and make them bow to his will. I stopped that in Denmark in 96, it was never the same again :-))
Q) I’m curious……………
D) Violence is never an option…..
Q) What have you been doing since the Rainbow gig?
D) I start recording my first solo record in January. I’ve done few different things Brazen Abbot “Nostradamous”, and Tributes to.. Maiden, ZZ Top, Whitesnake. Plus Steen Mogenson from Royal Hunt. Backing vocals on 2 country records, A Rover car commercial. Other stuff I can’t recall.
Q) Any tracks you’ve done yet on the tributes?
D) Maiden > “Hallowed Be Thy Name”, “The Evil That Men Do”. ZZ Top > “Tush”, “Planet Of Women”; ‘Snake > “Slow And Easy”, “Judgment Day”, and “Crying In The Rain”.


Q) Favorite rock albums of all time?
D) Made in Japan [DP], Aladdinsane [Bowie].
Q) Do anything outside of music?
D) I drink beer and drive mini coopers – not at the same time you understand.
Q) You have cited John Sloman as a favorite singer / influence. What is it about his voice / style that you appreciate as a singer yourself?
D) He is unique and has edges to his voice that you either love or hate, I have enjoyed him since his Lone Star days. He can do things, runs vocally no one before or since has managed to do. I nicked loads from this man.
Q) What do you think of Heep’s other singers > David Byron, John Lawton, Peter Goalby, and Bernie Shaw?
D) As with all things the original is considered the best and so it is with Byron. I’ve never heard John Lawton but I recently met him and his lovely wife and he was charming. Goalby sang on my favorite Heep album – Abominog, and I saw him twice. Bernie is the complete pro and taught me quite a bit I’ll always be grateful to him for taking this off the wall Scottish maniac and calming him down on that Heep tour.

MSF-tour

*added reading :

http://bravewords.com/news/doogie-white-celebrates-20th-anniversary-of-rainbows-stranger-in-us-all-album-audio

https://myglobalmind.com/2011/10/21/exclusive-interview-with-doogie-white-rainbow-yngwie-malmsteen-cornerstonetank-doogie-white-vocals/

http://www.metaltalk.net/columns2015/20157515.php

http://www.whatson-north.co.uk/Whats-On/Music/White-still-shines-bright-after-Rainbow-22012016.htm

 

Interview, KJJ, Oct ’99.

 

URIAH HEEP : North America 2018

uh north america 18

*Uriah Heep – Tickets – The Rock Box – San Antonio, TX, April 06, 2018 | Ticketfly
Get tickets to Uriah Heep at The Rock Box, San Antonio, TX on 04/06/18
ticketfly.com

*Dates have since been added to western Canada.  Please check > http://www.uriah-heep.com  for newest dates.

 

 

https://www.songkick.com/search?page=1&per_page=10&query=uriah+heep&type=upcoming

Uriah Heep – In Canada, 2018!

It’s been since the fall of 1993 when I last saw Uriah Heep in Ontario, tho they played some shows in western Canada the following year, and 2 shows in British Columbia in 2001. At the time the band had yet to sign a new record deal, 1995’s brilliant Sea Of Light album was still a dream away, their last album – Different World suffered on a small label, and did not get a release over here [til mid 90s in the US, on Griffin Records] and the latest UH related release was The Lansdowne Tapes, and Ken Hensley’s From Time To Time. The first round of remastered CDs had not been conceived yet. Back then the band was part of the Total Recall Tour, with Nazareth, Blue Oyster Cult, and Wishbone Ash. They played a 45 minute set of material pre 1976, as well as 1 ‘new’ song – Words In The Distance.

The band’s 6 shows in February of 2018 are long overdue. On their last tour of the US, I attended a show in Akron, Ohio [about 5 hrs drive], as did a number of other fans from Toronto and the Niagara areas. Someone asked singer Bernie Shaw [after the show] why the band hadn’t come north of the border, and he replied ‘they couldn’t get arrested in Canada!’. huh!… Bernie’s Canadian btw. Regardless the band is finally coming here.
*Updated North American Tour dates for 2018:
heep 2018
http://www.uriah-heep.com/newa/livedates.php

They’re also recording a new album titled “Living The Dream” early in the new year, to be released next September.
https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/uriah-heep-living-the-dream
It’s been over 3 years since the band’s last album – Outsider, and during the time the band has toured extensively, including a number of songs from that album in their live show. http://www.frontiers.it/news/10978
Mick Box & Bernie Shaw have also been part of the Rock Meets Classic Tour in Europe [a few singers and players from various bands, performing with a full orchestra]. And most recently Phil Lanzon has released his first solo album – “If You Think I’m Crazy”. https://outsiderrock.wordpress.com/2017/11/08/phil-lanzon-if-you-think-im-crazy-interview/
Shaw also appears on Alan Simon’s Excalibur IV project – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4rRmUpT3xs

So far 6 Canadian shows have been announced [hopefully more to come]
February :
06 & 08 – Ottawa, Ontario – Brass Monkey 
09 – Quebec City, Palais Montcalm
10 – Montreal, PQ – Corona Theatre
11 – London, Ontario – London Music Hall
12 – Toronto, Ontario – Phoenix Concert Theater [sold out]
and although not in Canada –
March 02 – Westland, Michigan – The Token Lounge [about an hour from Windsor, Ontario]

Heep’s Canadian Connections

*Singer Bernie Shaw is from British Columbia, and moved to the UK in the late 70s to pursue his musical career. He debuted on the first Grand Prix LP [along with Phil Lanzon], and went on to record with Praying Mantis [Stratus] . He joined Heep at the end of 1986, and has been there ever since. He also recorded a few tracks with Canadian guitarist Dale Collins, while on vacay in Canada in 1997, which was released as the “Picking Locks” EP [CD]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fK-SCyFkzXU

*Prior to Shaw though, the band had another Canadian in the ranks. Keyboard player Gregg Dechert had been in a London, Ontario based band named Pulsar, along with a Welsh singer named John Sloman. When that band broke up and Sloman had to return to the UK, he joined Uriah Heep. Following an album and UK / European tour, Dechert was flown over to audition for and replace Ken Hensley. Dechert’s time in the band was long enough to record an album’s worth of material – which never got released, as well as play on the single “Think It Over”, and do a UK tour. His time in Heep would lead to being part of David Gilmour’s 1984 solo band, as well as a few other projects, and a brief stint in Bad Company.

He would also be apart of the Heepsteria tribute project years later, with the late Rob Seagrove, covering “July Morning”.

*When Ken Hensley left Heep, he formed Shotgun [who did 1 UK tour], and the guitarist was Canadian Derek O’Neil, from Ottawa – who had previously been in the band Fury [whom supported Heep on their 1977 UK tour]. He also was part of Blazer Blazer, who had a single in the UK – “Cecil Be Devine”. Iron Maiden would cover a song he co-wrote as part of the Marshall-Fury Band – “Juanita”. He later relocated to California, and sadly passed away in 2007.
https://www.pressreader.com/canada/ottawa-citizen/20070521/281930243551706

*For the last several years Mick Box has been using and endorsing guitars by Toronto based company Carparelli Guitars. http://www.carparelliguitars.com/index.php/endorsees?start=8

Looking forward to the 2018!

KJJ, 11/17

 

BLUE OYSTER CULT : Classics – without the cowbell!

Outsider Rock

‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’ was Blue Oyster Cult’s first and biggest hit in 1976, after 3 albums. The song became etched in American pop culture in 2000 when a skit was made of it on Saturday Night Live with Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken; having fun with the recording of the cowbell [which in turn inspired the song “More Cowbell” by Blue Coupe!]. BOC fans know the band was one of the best from the US in the ‘70s, originally signed by Columbia in hopes to be a response to the heavy bands on Warner Bros at the time – mainly Black Sabbath, but BOC were never simply a heavy ‘metal’ band, loads of variety, rockers, ballads, with 5 guys that all wrote and could sing lead. They had their own themes and stories in the songs and albums [see my interview with Albert Bouchard], a cool symbol [an idea taken on…

View original post 1,026 more words

Joe Bouchard – Playin’ History : Interview

Founding Blue Oyster Cult member Joe Bouchard has a brand new solo album out. Playin Time is Joe’s fifth album, and his best since his debut in 2009. Check out the album, and order it at his website > http://www.joeboouchard.com

In this interview Joe talks about Playin Time, as well as updates on his shows with brother Albert , and their band Blue Coupe!

jbs 1

Playin History comes just over a year after The Power of Music. How do you manage to get so much quality rock recorded and put out over the last 10 years, and still maintain a number of live performances?

Lots of strong coffee…we brew the high test all day. Actually I retired from my private teaching business in May 2016. I was teaching about 4 days a week. It was an easy job, no classrooms, just private guitar lessons mainly. I wasn’t getting any younger so when I retired from my “part time job”, it opened up lots of time for songwriting and recording. I felt good about what I was creating and the proof is in the album. My songwriting skills have sharpened over the years. I’m much more critical with my songs than I used to be.
That being said, I didn’t record too many extra songs. There are some good riffs, and jamming tracks, but they fell by the wayside pretty quick, and the songs I chose for Playin’ History are the most consistent, creative and balanced recordings I’ve ever done.

Oh yeah, I know…”You’re just saying that…just look at those early Blue Öyster Cult songs you wrote!” To be honest from my perspective most of those songs were lucky accidents. I think the only song I thought was really well crafted from the early days was Light Years of Love. That song is way less popular than Astronomy, Hot Rails and Morning Final and maybe one or two more. You never know what the public will latch onto.

The last album dealt with ‘music’ subjects in lyrics and titles. Was this one geared towards ‘history’ subjects? and would you say they’re sorta ‘loose’ concept albums or themed albums?

Very loose concepts certainly. I really start out just trying to write one good song. Walk with the Devil was the first song I wrote for Power of Music. Once I got that first good song, the others just followed after it.

With Playin’ History, Renaissance Man set the pace for the songs to follow. Almost all of the music was written in 2016 and early 2017. One track called Now What is This came from a rough demo from the late 80s that I wrote on synthesizers. Everything else is relatively brand new.

bouchard playin history

Renaissance Man is a great opener, and a tribute to Sandy Pearlman? Can you elaborate on how this one came about and how much of an impact Sandy made on you and your writing, playing, career ?

Yeah, Renaissance is a classic. Sandy was a brilliant genius who invented the concept of Blue Öyster Cult, gave us our name, convinced this wide range of fairly intelligent personalities that we needed to go in that direction, that is hard rock and proto-metal. As a manager he kept us moving forward when we could have easily slipped of the rails on the way to our heights of popularity. If he had a flaw it seemed he lacked the drive to keep us on top when we got there. But overall if it weren’t for Sandy Blue Öyster Cult would never have existed.

Sandy came up with the lyrics to Astronomy, my most popular song, and gave me the title for Hot Rails to Hell. He was a pretty smart fellow. He stopped managing the band after I left in 1986 and worked as a college professor in Montreal. He passed away from a brain aneurism at the age of 72.

In reference to other tracks you wrote, how much are based on your own experiences and places you’ve been?

All of it comes from personal experiences is some respect. Some more than others.

Tracks that stand out for me include – Night Owl Nocturne, Diamonds in Blue, and Now What Is This – can you give me some insight in to those.

Night Owl is really personal. I am an insomniac and I do most of my writing and recording in the late night hours. I live out in the woods of Connecticut and the neighbors are not anywhere close. The only company I have in the warm spring evenings are owls in the woods. They would hoot and do their owl things while I was working on this song.

Diamonds in Blue came from an idea about space travel. I love studying what NASA, telescopes and other space exploration things are doing. I got an email from a connection in NYC that a movie company needed a song about asteroids. I had two days to put it together from scratch. It’s just three simple chords but I love the feeling I get from it.

Now What is This is about Bob Dylan and specifically the tour that Patti Smith was the opening act for him. I think it was back in the 80s. They would do a duet every night and the crowd would go nuts, get hysterical really…it’s about that style of hero worship.

 

Who are the 52 Agents of Fortune?

The 52 Agents of Fortune are simply a deck of playing cards. One of our producers Murray Krugman played poker and he referred to a deck of cards as the “52 agents of fortune”. We were finishing the 5th Blue Öyster Cult album for Columbia and we didn’t have a name. I wanted something with a really positive vibe to it so I suggested we name the album Agents of Fortune. It worked out tremendously well and became our biggest seller.

There was a group called The Title Trackers from about 3-4 years ago that posted “made-up” songs around the theme of lost “title tracks”. Checking into the Morrison Hotel was one of their songs. It was pretty funny but somewhat silly.

I took that idea and said 52 Agents of Fortune could be one of those lost title tracks. My song is really nothing like those undernourished attempts at parody. This song is the story of my “incredible luck” with my music career. The Hammond organ intro could be Deep Purple or Vanilla Fudge. It works for my story and was real fun to record.

You have 2 John Elwood Cook songs on this album. The Written History Of Misery is classic . Can you tell me a bit about how this evolved from the song John gave you and the production it became on the final album?

John writes in a Johnny Cash style. But often that’s not where I’m going with my recordings. I love his songs tremendously. Bad Decisions started as a demo in a like a slow Zeppelin-like blues. It was pretty bad, but I still loved the song. When I decided to speed up the song, add some funky blues guitar, add an eerie background vocal part, the song started to really work for me. The crowning touch was when I added a Banjolin, a hybrid mandolin with a banjo head. It was lying around the house for decades and needed new strings. It’s over 100 years old and was played in some old time dixieland band. Once I restrung it, it sounded amazing. I added it through the whole song and I love the way it came out.

The Written History of Misery is a classic as you say. It was written as a companion to one of John Cook’s artworks. John likes to think about what life was like years ago, and expound on those quirky personalities. His artwork has quotes from somebody’s tombstone and other artifacts. It’s a strange piece and a strange song for sure. Musically it just needed a good riff. I got a new Fender Esquire reproduction that sounds amazing. I wrote the riff for the song on that new guitar. But the song is all John and I’m glad you like it.

You play everything on this album!? Does that kinda speed up the process and make things easier or would you ever like adding in some guest players?

I like playing all the parts and I can work fairly fast and get the exact results I need. But I miss the give and take with other musicians. I wanted to hire musicians for this project but many were on tour and not available during my time frame. Maybe on my next solo album I’ll get a real band together and see what happens. I worry about losing my control of the production. Doing all myself keeps things tight and I can’t blame anybody but myself if it doesn’t work.

jbs w albert

You’ve been out doing song & story shows with Albert[!?] How many of these have you done and may there be a recording from these shows or a collaboration album in the future?

Yes, Albert and I do a show called Bouchard Bros: Songs & Stories. It’s great! We have video projections for all the songs and it is fun to do deep tracks from Blue Öyster Cult and our solo albums. We play acoustic versions of the songs in really nice theaters and the response is amazing.

 

Whats the status of Blue Coupe? Any plans for a new album or bigger tour [up this way]?

Blue Coupe is doing well, but Dennis has commitments to Alice this fall. He’s in the UK with Alice right now. Whether he plays with Alice in 2018 remains to be seen. We plan to record a new studio album as soon as he’s free. Dennis is part of Albert’s Christmas album that he produced last year. There will be an expanded version of the album this holiday that features various musicians and friends.

There’s plenty of great live stuff on youtube, particularly of Blue Coupe — Wonder if we could ever see a live album from the band!?

A live album would be nice but it is hard since it is expensive and there’s so much available online for free. The next thing we do will be a new studio album. The song Fireball that Dennis wrote for Alice Cooper’s latest album is doing great and I hope that Blue Coupe will add that song to their set.

What else do you have on the go? Are you playing tracks from Playin History live?

We play Bad Decisions with Albert and it’s great. I played Renaissance Man, Diamonds in Blue, 52 Agents of Fortune and Mountain House at open mics. I will probably play more of those songs. It depends on the demand. The album is just getting out to the fans. Many people have expressed interest in the songs. It’s hard to fit them into a set list since I have to play so many from the Blue Öyster Cult catalog.

Might you consider doing a full band tour [or shows] that mainly focus on this album and some of your previous solo material?

I’d love to have a band like Brian Wilson. He has nine musicians on stage that play exact recreations of all his famous songs. It’s stunning and I’ve seen him over 15 times. Maybe someday it will happen.

KJJ, Nov 2017

 

 

 

Joe Lynn Turner Speaks : 1999

This is an interview I did with JLT from 1999, upon the release of the Rainbow remastered CDs. Joe was a lot of fun to talk to, informative, talkative, and entertaining. A great singer, who was the 3rd singer Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow – from 1981 til 84 when Blackmore broke up the band to return to Deep Purple.  In recent years JLT has seen the release of such band projects as Rated X [2014] and Sunstorm [2016], as well as a few excellent live sets – one of his solo band from Boston 1985 [titled Street Of Dreams], and another of Rainbow , from Boston 1981. Joe has kept in the rock news as well the last few years in regards to Blackmore’s return to rock, and his Not choosing Joe to front his new version of the band.

 

 

Pre Fandango days – local bands? any recordings?
We did all home studio stuff, recordings. I mean, we’d gone into studios and
stuff but it was all on a local level. The one band that i would say took notoriety was
a band called “Ezra”. It was a very heavy band, we did Deep Purple covers and
originals like them. I played guitar at this point, and i also did singing. We did like
Highway Star, Rat-Bat Blues, – you name it. We also did stuff by like Flash, Children
of The Universe, and Yes, and all that kind of stuff, so it was a heck of a lot of stuff
for me to cut as a guitar player. My chops were a whole lot better in those days. This
Ezra thing, we did quite well on a local level, which sort of prompted us to go a little
further. I got kinda stuck in a Hard-Rock…got fed up with all that; meaning – as a
musician you really want to expand and i love all kinds of music, so when the
opportunity came around to start this band “Fandango” I was more than ready
because at that point the Eagles were big and things like that , Poco, Marshall
Tucker, so it was kind of a 5 part harmony – double guitar – Allman Brothers type of
thing, and we played locally and (again) became very successful locally – filling up
the clubs, high schools and what have you. There was a big following in the Tri-State
area – New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, and Pennsylvania too. And from
there we recognized by some A & R guys and got signed to RCA Records.

You Guys Did a lot of different types of stuff…

Very eclectic type of stuff!

You did 4 albums!?

We did 4 albums, we had pockets in the US where we were being played a lot
on the radio stations and actually could fill some clubs and things like that. So we
had pockets where we were successful, not to any measure where we went to any
super-notoriety or anything. We had a lot of great writers, and everybody at this
point was very hungry and young, so we weren’t very aware of what shouldn’t be
done and what should, and there was a lot of arguing, and a lot of hammering about
you know – you want your own voice to be heard. And eventually that became the
demise of the band, aside from the fact that we got robbed on tour! We were on tour
with Wet Willie, Allman Brothers, and Marshall Tucker — this big shed-fest, and we
were playing the Chicago Fest as a matter of fact — the Beach Boys, Billy Joel –
whole bunch of people were out there at this concert, and that night when we got to
the hotel – of course the band all went out and the roadies were playing cards and
the truck was parked up against the wall, the roater was taken out for safety
precautions, and it was pissin’ down rain. To make a long story short, these guys
knew exactly what to do, these thieves, and they stole our truck. So about 80
Thousand dollars worth of equipment was gone; it went right into Canada! And then
from Canada alot of the stuff – road cases, guitars, clothes, everything – ended up in
like Japan, Germany — it all got air-lifted some place else and sent out.

Was that the nail in the coffin?
Yeah, it really was. But we tried to recover from that. RCA was very helpful,
they gave us like 30 or 40 Grand to try and get back on our feet, and we were kind of
emotionally wiped out because me and the other guitar player Rickey Blakemore –
we had like wicker covered Marshall cabinets, our own home racks and things, so
we were left to foot petals and strange guitars, and strange drum sets …

A lot of personal stuff!?
Yeah, a lot of personal stuff, the stuff in the road cases. The wind got knocked
out of us, and it was very hard to recover. In a nut-shell that’s what I’d have to say.
But we went out after and tried to do the tour, and we tried to make that last
“Cadillac” record, but at that point there was sort of a venom inside the band as well
because the 2 main writers were screaming for writing, me and the bass player who
also wrote good songs – we wanted to write; so now everybody’s taking a chance
and doing some writing and the albums became even more eclectic — which meant
they were all over the place. It was a very talented band, group of guys, good strong
song writing, but there was not one identity of the band. The band’s identity was that
whole eclecticity, you know ‘who are they? you can’t put your finger on it’

Did anyone in either of those bands (Ezra or Fandango) go on to anything else of
bigger success?
No, not really. They all made aspirational attempts, but nobody really cracked it
except me and I think that brought on a lot of resentment, and I mean – I’m friends
with them today but I don’t see them. And Rick died, Rick was in a car crash. In fact
my daughter’s named after his fiancée who died with him. It was a real Romeo &
Juliet story. He was up at the Renaissance there in New York state and some guy on
medication, 80 years old, lost control, fell asleep – whatever and jumped over the
divider and his car happened to be in the way, and it took them both out.

What year was that?
I’d say it was about ’83. Oh, you asked me if anyone had gone on further – he
actually played with Kim Larson in Gasoline Alley in Copenhagen, Denmark. Kim
Larson had a really big following in Scandinavia and Europe at the time, he was kind
of a David Johanson – looking character. The whole project was called “Gasoline
Alley” and I know Rickey had been touring with them, so he did at least get a taste of
what it might be like to do something on record.

Were some of the songs on your solo album not credited to him?
Because we had written them then, I mean “The Game of Rock n Roll” for
example – that was such an old song, and I still think it’s a timeless song. Regardless
of whether you like this version or not, the whole lyrical tongue and cheek
campiness of rock stars, ya know – “you got a manager, and a shiny car, a heavy
weight lawyer, and a bodyguard…………..” and all this kind of stuff, and it was kind of
cool. We had written a bunch of stuff, but that one was certainly perfect for “Hurry
Up And Wait” because Hurry Up And Wait has kind of got a tongue and cheek
attitude about the whole thing anyway. I mean it’s got some really great stuff on it,
commercial rock, but it just seems to fit, and it was a good tribute to do that.

How did you, being from the States, New Jersey — hook up with Ritchie
Blackmore?
Interesting story. Fandango was over, I was living down in the West Village of
New York City with a lot of the other bohemians, and living very poorly of course,
with a couple of roommates and sleeping on a mattress of the floor – that kind of
thing. I was playing guitar and singing still, I would do anything – sing, play –
whatever you wanted me to do! So I would go to a lot of auditions, and I realized that
I wasn’t getting the gigs because every time I’d be in the back line playing rhythm
guitar, or even lead guitar, or singing background – I kinda had a charisma I guess,
and I would out-shine these artists that these A & R guys were trying to promote, so
I was never getting the gigs. So I was like, “what the hell is it with this? I can’t get a
gig!” So I was getting pretty down hearted and pissed-off, rightfully so. I said to
myself 2 weeks previous to Ritchie’s phone-call that “I’ve really got to be my own
man; the only way I’m going to do this is to take the ball of wax in my own hands,
and be my own lead singer, or guitar player, writer, – whatever.” Never mind this
trying to join a situation or get higher or whatever! So, I get a phone-call one day
towards the evening. I’d just come in from another disgusting day of walking around
New York trying to find work and hook up things. This guy named Barry Ambrosio is
on the phone and introduces himself, and I Don’t him, but he says “I know you from
Fandango” and he started asking me 1001 questions, and I said “what do you work
for the IRS or something? Like what’s up with you?” And he said “No, I’m actually
sitting next to Ritchie Blackmore, I’m a friend of his and HE would like to speak to
you.” So, I was like slack-jawed, and went well “put him on!” And he comes on and
says “Hello mate….” and I said “Hello mate yourself, I’m a big fan of yours”, and he
says “well I’m a big fan of yours!”, and I said “Really”. And he says “I’ve listened to
all your Fandango records”, I said “Great, thanks”. And he says “We’re looking for a
new lead singer for Rainbow, are you familiar with Rainbow?” And I said “Well, I got
the first album that Dio did, and I like that”. But there was so many other bands that hit the wall at that time, bigger bands, that my tastes not changed, but Rainbow kind
of got buried with their first album. I was familiar with some of the other stuff, but i
wasn’t learning it off by heart or anything. So he says “we’d like you to come out and
try and have a singing'”. And I says “well where and when do i got to be…..” and he
says “Today!” and I’m like “Now? I don’t have a car, so I’ll have to take the train” And
he said he was out on Long Island, and the train service runs out to Long Island,
New York. So I figured out a schedule and called him back at the studio he was at –
which happened to be Kingdom Sound. I got the next train out there, got out there,
they picked me up at the station, brought me in straight to the microphone. I was
nursing a cold at the time, I had a head cold, and I didn’t care; I had to push through
this and my voice teacher at the time always taught me to sing above a cold. So I
started doing backgrounds and stuff to tracks like “Surrender” and what not. And
then I noticed they were wiping off Graham Bonnet’s tracks, and I was like “what’s
up with this?” And I’d started to do a few leads, and they said can you improvise?
And they’d play a track and said “just mumble something over this, sing some
bluesy hard rock over this” And then Ritchie came out with a couple of Heinekins in
his hand and said “you got the gig if you want it”. So I kinda figured since I was
working out here for the last 6 hours you know , and they were doing a lot of talking
back and forth behind the glass and I was standing out there like a goldfish in a bowl
worrying what’s going on.
Who was making the decision?
It was Roger Glover, he, the manager, Ritchie’s ex-wife Amy.
So he comes out with the Heinekins, he clinks me one, and we decide right there
that I’m in the band. They didn’t even let me go home they got a hotel room for me
and put me in a hotel that night. I called my girlfriend and said “look I won’t be
coming home, looks like I got a big gig, I’m freaking out, I’m excited, and they’re
keeping me in the hotel, here’s the number…..” And I started right in the studio the
next morning on the “Difficult To Cure” tracks. And the rest is really history, that’s
how it all started!
When you joined the band, the band had done a lot of heavier stuff prior to………..
Yeah they were a bit more..I’d like to call it “dungeons and dragons”.
Starting with the “Down To Earth” album and the albums that you were on…….
The Down To Earth album was a bit more commercial. They had the Russ
Ballard thing going on..
How did you feel about those (Russ Ballard) tunes?
I love them! I think Russ Ballard happens to be a great great writer! And I won’t
even get into, by disparaging him by saying that “I Surrender” – the way it came out –
I had an influence in that, but he would absolutely not accept any re-writes or
polishing. He said “you can do what you want to it – but I’m keeping my publishing!”
So Ritchie looked at me and I looked at him and said “f**k it – we’ll just do it!” I mean
I needed a break, i was in no position to argue. But I had re-written certain things and melodies, but overall – it’s his song! Somewhere there’s a demo of him singing
it, and you get the idea – “oh yeah, it’s much better now!” ha ha. Anyway, I loved the
Russ Ballard stuff, I thought he was a great writer with Argent and all that, I had no
problem with him. But it was that Rainbow was actually making a concerted attempt
and a concentrated effort to try and get this commerciality – not blatant
commerciality, but a melodic hard-rock form. I was at the right place at the right time
because that’s my instincts; my instincts are hard-rock and melodic. I’m not a
screamer, that’s just distasteful. I’m a Paul Rodgers fan, Glenn Hughes fan – I love
singing, when people can emote and really sell a lyric in a story, so I guess that’s
where the perfect marriage was coming from, and we just tried to follow suit.

And the last few albums there was even more keyboards……..
Yeah, there you go! With David Rosenthal, Ritchie wanted a bit more color to it.
He gave everybody a piece to stretch out with like synthesizer solos, the B-3 solos
and what-have-you. The band sort of went through a metamorphosis, and obviously
commerciality wasn’t bad because we were doing very well. I know we pissed off a
lot of the hard core dungeons and dragons fans because we weren’t writing about
castles and monsters and medieval kings and all that stuff, but we were doing a lot
of super-natural spiritual stuff. We were doing a lot of stuff that borderline on
séances and the other side of this life.
Now when you guys wrote together – you, Roger, and Ritchie, – did you do the
lyrics mainly??
What Ritchie would do is he would grab say Bob Rondinelli on drums with his
Taurus blue pedals, and they would go into the rehearsal place for a couple of hours
and just jam on all kinds of riffs; and then Ritchie would hand me this 2 hour tape
(ha ha ha) and go “alright – write some songs!”. And nothing would be necessarily
cohesive, in fact I can remember “Street Of Dreams” – which was a later song of
course, but they were all like that; I remember putting 3 or 4 different pieces together
and showing him how these 3 pieces of music went together and how they make up
the song because he’d write all the pieces but they would all be in different formats
and arrangements.
You guys went through a few personnel changes as far as keyboard players and
drummers. Was Cozy Powell ever in the band with you?
JLT: Cozy got out of the band just as I got in the band, and that’s when Rondinelli
came in. I did know Cozy very well, he came over to my house in New Jersey after I
got married, and we had dinner and we were talking about being in Blue Murder and
a whole bunch of other things, and of course John Sykes wouldn’t hear of it because
I’d gone out with his girlfriend earlier and it was becoming very incestuous. But he
(Cozy) was a fine fine man, and I think my quote when asked was ‘we lost a prince in
the industry’. Because Cozy, not only was a world-class drummer, but he was also a
fine guy, and you don’t find many of those; you find usually egotistical assholes!

Highlights as far as Rainbow goes – favorite tracks? shows?

Well Madison Square Garden of course because it’s my hometown! Bodkin of
course – because it’s Budokan! And then we played even larger stadiums where
there was 80 thousand people – ‘Summerfests’ and things like that! But as far as the
more memorable shows – my first show we played in Kolmar, France, and it was a
warm-up gig. It was an outdoor gig, a shed with a roof, and it was my first gig, and i
was scared shit. During Long Live Rock N Roll Ritchie and the guys gave me a piece
where I got out to the audience and started them clapping and singing and all this,
and of course they be French speaking they were trying to do the best they could,
and to make a long story short, I started getting bits of food thrown at me and I was
getting really irritated during this Long Live Rock n Roll part and I got really pissed
off with the lights and all I didn’t know where it was coming from, and I said “ah –
F**k off!” and as I threw the mic down I looked and the spotlight had just caught
somebody in the pit and there was Ritchie Blackmore and the rest of the band – they
had the food trays from backstage Hospitality and they were throwing baloney at me
and pretzels and chips – and it was them! Ha ha ha ha. So I felt like a complete idiot
(ha ha). And this was my first introduction to like “you better learn to take a joke!” In
other words you can’t take your self too seriously! And that’s something that I think
is probably the greatest thing that Blackmore has ever taught me. Whether or not he
subscribes to it anymore – I’m not too sure, because sometimes I find he pretends to
take himself seriously to intimidate people, but I know better – that “it’s all a laugh” –
as he used to put it. But those are the moments that i remember vividly because they
were major embarrassing or learning moments, and they were cornerstones of what
I’ve learnt and became today.

Favorite Rainbow songs??
They’re like my children, it’s very difficult to love one more than another. ……
There’s some special ones like Stone Cold, Drinking With The Devil, Street Of
Dreams, Can’t Let You Go, Jealous Lover…
there’s so many that were so cool and so good, we really had a run of luck, and
when I say luck I mean we do get lucky when the chemistry’s really happening, and
our chemistry was really high for a couple of years, and we wrote some really
impactful stuff. But otherwise it’s really tough, because each one of these songs is
sort of like a biography, or it reminds me of a place in my life – where I was at the
time, and if anybody wants my biography when I’m gone just listen to my records,
and it’s all about what I’ve lived through, and it’s all based on truth.

Now the band broke up when the Deep Purple thing was ………
Yeah that was………

Were you a little bitter or what?No, I’ll tell you what I’m bitter about. The manager actually put me and Ritchie
against each other on a trip back from Japan once. He came to me and said “Oh we
want to put back together Deep Purple and everyone’s into it and everyone wants to
do this, and you now have a lucrative solo deal with Elektra Records and you’re
going to do really good and blah blah blah…and then we can always put Rainbow
back together.” OK, this is the manager’s words in a nutshell. And I’m like “Man, no problem. You mean Ritchie really wants to do it?” – “Yeah” – OK then what the hell
am I going to say, because without Ritchie – there’s no Rainbow! So I said “yeah, and
I do have my contract with Elektra and I’m excited about doing a solo deal, and also I
feel very important by helping one of my favorite bands in the world – Deep Purple,
get back together!” I felt very instrumental, and I sort of had a smile on my face. Well
what happened was he went over to Ritchie and said “Joe just wants to do a solo
deal, he so full of ego now.” And Ritchie was really disappointed because he wanted
to keep Rainbow together, and I never knew that until last January. I found out
through a mutual friend of ours. And I’ve said this in the press and I want him to
know that we were duped, in a word ‘duped!’ And he (the manager) played both
sides against the middle for monetary gains, and there we were. So I was bitter
about what the manager did.

Any hard feelings a few years ago when Ritchie put the band back together
without you?
Not at all! In fact those guys were playing with me first – they were my band. I
can document that, they were in the Joe Lynn Turner All-Star band playing around.
We played for a couple of years before Ritchie picked them up, and of course he did
the right thing. They came to me out of respect and said “hey would it be OK if we
joined Rainbow?”, and I said “first of all I’m not your father! and I don’t own you, but
I really appreciate you guys coming to me with this kind of respect, but go for it – be
blessed my child, but BE warned! All that glitter ain’t gold, he’s a tough cookie
sometimes, so just wear your helmets!” And sure enough they came back later on
and told me some absolute horror stories! Ha ha ha ha. So, I had no problem at all. I
was pretty much flattered that he would steel my band, ha ha. But I wanted those
guys to get notoriety as well.
So there was no plan for you to get into Rainbow?
No, I don’t think he even considered me because he wanted all new blood.
That’s one of the famous Vampire-Blackmore things — he needs new blood to
generate. After the fiasco we had been through with Purple and everything. He and I
were the only 2 that still stood fast, and he wanted me in that band. He took a 2
million dollar deal from BMG to get Gillan back in the band, because there was no
way he wanted Gillan back in the band. This is obviously another story……. What
happened was I got pushed out. The only bitterness I have about that — and I’ve seen
all the guys several times, I’ve seen them 2 nights at the Hard Rock & House Of
Blues, hung with them back stage, hugged, and all that crap. I harbor no ill feelings,
but everybody knows where the body’s buried, everybody knows what they did – and
if they can live with that — fine! I’m a big enough man to forgive — not forget, but to
forgive! And I really felt I got back-stabbed!
How did you feel about the album you did “Slaves & Masters”??
Slaves & Masters was a great product. We got crap out of it; it was “Deep
Rainbow”, and all this kind of shit! What the hell do you expect ? — we got 3 people
from Rainbow and 4 people from Purple, so now what? You got me singing lead, so
the color and face of the band’s going to sound like Rainbow, but I’ll tell you this,
and little did I know that that was one of Ritchie’s favorite albums, I read it in articles,and he’s told me, and then I read it in print and I know anything he says in print he wants out there! So he said that was actually one of this favorite records. And to
make a long story short, we got a lot of shit from the Deep Purple Fan Club, Simon
Robinson and all these guys. Here’s what I want to say, and I’ve been saying it, so
the last laugh is mine — Look at them now! They sound like the Gillan Band meets
the Dixie Dregs! It doesn’t sound like Deep F**kin’ Purple!! We had at least – with
“Wicked Ways” and a bunch of different songs, we sounded like Purple! We had the
Purplesque attitude, but we also had some Rainbow styles because how far can you
take these musicians out of their environment? We are what we are! So it’s got to
sound like that, but it still sounds – to me, closer to the truth of Deep Purple rather
than what’s been coming out lately! It sounds like some avant-garde — I don’t know
what the hell that is!! And I think it (Slaves & Masters) was a far better album,
although people would argue, than “The Battle Rages On”. I didn’t like that album.

jlt dp

Did you do the demos for The Battle Rages On?
Yes – in a word! And I just heard that they are on some bootleg, I believe you
can get it from Lost Horizons, Chris McLaughlin – this guy in Japan, and I know him,
and I’m going to e-mail and call his ass and ask “what the f**k is goin on with this?” –
because I want those!

Did you write anything on that?
Yes. When I heard The Battle Rages On, I heard diluted tracks of what we were
writing. We had some very strong material because at that point Ritchie was very
concerned. We brought in Jim Peterik of Survivor, and he was writing with us, and
we had some really cool stuff! We had this one called “Lost In The Machine” — which
was f**kin’ heavy. We had another called “The Stroke of Midnight”, another called
“Little Miss Promiscuous”. We were just ripping it up with social statements, and all
that kind of stuff. And we were sort of becoming like an angst band, but with a
commercial attitude, and a lot of great music! But the other guys were just …you
know – “Oh – the 25th Year reunion, we can’t survive without Ian Gillan.” And then
when BMG came in and slid in the 2 million bucks to Ritchie to give him a solo deal
just to get Gillan back in, he said “sure!” And i can’t blame a guy for that kind of
dough going over his head! So the cruelest thing, and what I am pissed off about is
the fact that they said I couldn’t sing! Now that’s a lie, because I could sing, I never
lost my voice. I read an article of Ritchie’s and he said “somebody had to be the goat
— somebody had to take the fall, and it was Joe. They sacrificed him. And he said
“those 3 guys really made it rough for him. God knows Joe had his own problems at
that time…..” because I was wrestling with my own inner-demons and I had a bit of a
drug habit – I’m not going to powder it at all, and I am completely back. But what I’m
trying to say is that they were giving me that psychological trauma. Here I am in one
of the most legendary bands in the world, and all I’m getting is shit from the inside! It
was pretty tough stuff. I needed a permanent couch attached to my back, I needed a
psychiatrist or something, because I couldn’t deal with the betrayal and the back-
stabbing and the nice to your face and then kick you in the ass. And I couldn’t
believe these guys. Ritchie was not a part of that — it was the other 3.

Do you still have a friendly bond with Ritchie?

Oh yeah. We don’t call each other all the time, but every once in a while we’ll
call and say “let’s go out to dinner”, and we never do. But some of our good mutual
friends are always passing along “hellos” from him and Candy. Everybody’s so busy
that we never do get together, but I’d like to make a point of it possibly at the end of
the summer or fall to just get together with him and say “hey – for old times sake
let’s have a few beers!”. And I would (to answer a question you didn’t ask!) …I’d love
do a Rainbow reunion because # 1 – I think the fans deserve it! and #2 – I think we
can really create some great music together again — if Ritchie is of the mind that he
really wants to do another hard-rock album. Right now, I happen to know that Ritchie
has always been a minstrel man; he’s always been a medieval – renaissance type of
guy. He told me he was born out of time, and he’s always felt these other lives, and
so on and so forth. So this does not surprise me – what he’s doing. And everybody’s
like “what the hell’s he doin? Has he lost his mind?”, but actually he’s found his
mind and he’s found his soul. He loves this kind of stuff. There was a German band
that he would take a tape of on tour with him, and play it for me all the time, and I he
would go follow them around like a groupie when we were off tour; and he would go
to these castles. Now he’s doing the same thing with his “Blackmore’s Night” thing.
So he’s happy, and the rest of yous can piss-off if you don’t like it!

You worked with Yngwie Malmsteen. Tell me, did Bob Daisley play on
“Odyssey”??
Originally it was supposed to be me, Bob Daisley, Eric Singer on drums,
Yngwie, and Jens Johanssen on keyboards. We had meetings, we had rehearsals,
the shit was sounding great, and then Yngwie freaked out and couldn’t take the egos
or whatever — couldn’t take Bob being of notoriety, me being of notoriety, because
what Jim Lewis at Polgram was trying to do (who’s still his manager by the way) was
bring us up to “super-star” status. It all looked good on paper, but Yngwie,
psychologically and emotionally couldn’t handle it – in my opinion (not only my
opinion – but everybody else’s opinion!), and he really just flubbed it, and then he
got in that terrible accident, and the whole bottom just dropped out. Because I was
with Bob and Eric for a couple of months, trying to put things together, and yes Bob
did eventually end up playing on a couple of tracks, but it was nothing that it was
supposed to have started out to have been. He got Anders Johanssen back and
went back to what Yngwie felt was comfortable. But regardless of any of that, the
Odyssey record still happens to be – in my opinion , one of the best works he’s ever
done. And I think people have testimonials to that. So I say it still stands the test of
time, and it was a sparkling light in his career, and I think he’s been trying to chase
that ever since really. But none of the records come up to snuff like that.

In latter years you’ve done a lot of ‘tribute’ stuff, you’ve got a new solo thing
out…..
Yeah I did some tributes for a while. It was fun to do Cream, ‘Purple — he
Friends from New York Purple – which was really outrageous, left-field stuff with
TMC Stevens! Did an AC/DC tribute – that was fun, and I love doing different stuff
because it’s always a challenge. Then I got serious again and started to do some
solo records and some “undercover” stuff – which i really loved doing.

And the Mother’s Army stuff!?

Ohh – this last one I love! I love them all, but i think the band’s got a real sound
and real style. And with this “Fire On the Moon” – I think we’ve really captured
something.
The only thing is a lot of the stuff you do now is Japan-only releases!?
Yes. A lot of it’s import , you’re right! And certain things in Europe like USG has
released “Planet Earth” and things like that. But oddly enough (I’ve got to tell you)
we’re doing 10 out of 10s as far as the reviews in Europe; they’re were going “best
hard-rock album of the year” …”Incredible lyrically”….”the music has got this and
that….” , and JVC in Japan dropped us! So right now we are label-less. We wrote 6
more songs, we turned them in , 6 which we love – the same style as Fire On The
Moon, if not better, so we know it had nothing to do with that. The whole thing in
Japan is just upside-down and ass-backwards right now with their economy and all.
So we’re kind of grateful that we got dropped by JVC, because they weren’t treating
us right, they never really promoted the records, never took any time out for us, or
anything like that. And I really think this band could be a mainstream, really
something to wrecked with if somebody got a hold of it with the right publicity.

What are you doing currently??
My next major project is to go with Nikolo Kotsev of Brazon Abbott. I just had
dinner with Glenn Hughes here in New York 2 weeks ago, who’d finished his tracks,
and we are doing a 2 CD set of a rock-opera about Nostradamus! It’s major – it’s
f**king brilliant! I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag, but i believe Doogie White’s
on it, and there’s going to be a cast of very notable people – women as well, and this
is an opera – a rock opera on Nostradamus right in time for the millennium, with his
whole life. It’s been one hell of a project for me to write on. I’ve heard the Glenn
tracks and he sang great, it’s just coming out phenomenal! So that is what I do at the
end of July. I also do a small festival over there in Mannheim – where Nicko lives,
we’re going to do a small outdoor festival – one night. And then I also did a Heaven &
Earth project with Stuart Smith, the guitarist, and now it looks like there’s a couple of
sheds up there in British Columbia, and he’s got Paul Rodger’s manager Chris
Crawford helping him out, so they’re threatening there’s a slight tour coming down
in August, a couple of festivals, and some clubs all the way down to LA, but I’ve yet
to see this materialize. And concurrently I’m starting a web business for musicians,
which is going to be a complete full sight to help aspiring and professional
musicians, but mostly the undiscovered talent that’s out there. We are going to be
like an MP3 sight, but in the meantime we’re going to try and help the musicians.
We’re going to have data banks for legal advice – because musicians end up on the
wrong side of contracts all the time! We’re going to help some kid with some advice,
where to go, what to do – whatever he needs!? Classifieds, employment rosters. It’s
a full range site “musiciansask.com”, and we’re right now in meetings to try and 5 to
7 $million to try and fund this thing, because there’s no site out there like this that
actually helps the musician. What we’re talking about is having a home-page for the
band, a bio, picture, a couple of MP3 downloads, you know – trying to get the band’s
exposure, single artists – whatever. Put people in touch with people internationally,
you know if you’ve got the music and they’ve got the lyrics. We’re going to have
bulletin boards. And this was all thought of by a group of musicians with notable
credibility who really want to help musicians because we’re the most kicked around artists in the world, you know they take our money, they steal our songs…One of our
slogans is “it’s our music – let’s take it back!” We’re sick of the A & R f**king people,
the big 3, and the big goofball record companies signing all these like Rickey Martin
and shoving these little Spice Girl shit down our throats, we’re sick of all the angst
and 4-chord wonders out there, that sea of talentless people — we really want to see
some music come back. And I think this thing is going to fly.

Favorite singers?
Paul Rodgers, Glenn Hughes, and there’s a couple of unsung heroes I admire
like Kelly Keeling, then Paul Carrack. I love Robert Plant, and I’m just sort of bringing
up where my butt comes from. What nails me is a singer that can do that soulful
thing and basically still rock.

Any rare / unreleased Rainbow tracks you remember?
JLT: Just some demos, nothing for release.

You released 2 albums of cover songs — why??
Pony Canyon and I had an idea to do this. I like remakes, and some of these are
my favorite songs. The C.D.s were well received.

Did Ezra play any Uriah Heep songs? Did you consider any Heep songs for either
of your covers’ albums?
Ezra played the popular Heep songs of the day. Yeah, it might be a good idea to
cover some Heep songs.

Any memories of touring with YJM in Russia?
Plenty of them. Cold, Cold, Cold! We were there for 5 weeks. A lot of technical
difficulties. Great audience response! Made me appreciate home sweet home.

Who was the ‘King Of Dreams’?
Real smooth dancer refers to Ritchie, the rest is a parody of myself.

Have you heard all the Rainbow remasters yet?
Yes, they sound great. I’m so glad they re-did these. And on VH1 they’ve been
playing the shit out of us, because down here it’s “the bad boys of rock” all month
and they’ve been playing “Stone Cold” and things like that, so my phone’s been
wringing off the hook. It’s kind of funny to see it all come back for a week.
I would also like to mention that I got a great web-site joelynnturner.com, and it’s
brand new; we’ve revamped the whole site, and there’s all kinds of new features and
a lot of cool links, and e-mail so everybody can e-mail me there.

KJJ, July ’99

PHIL LANZON – If You Think I’m Crazy : Interview

Uriah Heep keyboard player and songwriter Phil Lanzon’s debut solo album is out – and it is highly recommended. Not much in the hard rock style of the classic band he’s in, but a vast array of pop, prog, folk, and rock – which all goes together for a great listen, with different players, singers, choirs, strings…

In this interview with Phil, he answers the questions about this exciting new album and it’s release. A busy fella, currently working on a new Heep album, and preparing for an upcoming tour of the US in the new year! Looking forward to seeing Phil & Heep, as well as getting my hands on the vinyl version of this release – which you can order and support the project at —

https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/phil-lanzon-if-you-think-im-crazy

*Also visit Phil’s website for music, art and videos

https://www.phillanzonwordsandmusic.com/

You’ve been a member of Uriah Heep and a large writing force in the band for 30 years. How did the solo album idea come about?

 As with most writers you tend to write all the time, and I had accumulated a lot of material that was not Heep related. There came a time when my backlog of songs was overloading and some had to give birth or my studio would explode!!
So, I utilised the period when Mick and Bernie were off doing rock meets
classic and began the recording process.

First off – the album art is quite stunning! How did this come about with artist Michael Cheval?
 Easy this year I was looking for an album cover and trawled through a thousand or so artworks from all different styles.
I then came across a couple of pictures I liked by Michael Cheval. I don’t know anyone from the art world as such so I sent a message to him with my phone contact not expecting to get an answer. That evening the phone rang and it was Michael.
By huge coincidence it turned out he is a huge Heep fan and wanted me to use the picture I had selected for my solo album.  His original featured a certain famous Beatle but he insisted he put my mug shot in his place. I eventually agreed.

http://chevalfineart.com/info/news/2017/0917

Were these songs All written specifically for this album, or were there any holdovers that perhaps – didn’t suit past Heep projects?
 Some where, some weren’t.

You sang lead on 2 tracks on the album. why only 2?
 I don’t consider myself a singer. In fact I don’t really like my voice but I thought I’d better chip in so to speak.

What can you tell me about some of the players, singers, choir, etc.. that you’ve used on this project? Laurence Cottle – the same guy that was on a Black Sabbath album, I presume!? Andy Martin and John Mitchell obviously play a big role on this album.
 Yes, Laurence did do a Sabbath album. Andy Makin and John Mitchell brought a wonderful flavour to the songs and to be fair I relied solely on my producer Simon and arranger Richard to help with bringing the players and singers together. I simply wanted to write the songs and give them the chance to interpret them. Craig is now with Steven Wilson

How different was the writing process, where as with with a Heep album you usually write with Mick [or collaborate in some way]?

 Very different. When you write Heep style there is a very narrow margin that we have to keep within because it’s Uriah Heep.

You’ve done this project without any ‘guest’ appearances from your Heep bandmates. any reason you chose not to use any name guests?
I had originally wanted Russ and Dave to get involved but after many conversations with Simon I decided to let him take the lead and organise the entire shebang from his point of view. This is not to say I wouldn’t use them on another future project as they are a great rhythm section.

A lot of your songs are story based. where do you draw ideas from, with reference to specific tracks?
 There is only one answer – life. It’s all there to be lifted out and written on the page. I write short stories and I’ve written a novel so it’s in the blood – can’t help it.

Can you give me any antidotes into a few of my personal favorites – I Knew I Was Dreaming, I Saw 2 Englands, Lovers Highway, Donna & Joe?
 I like them all!  Donna & Joe is about two 19th century smugglers. They were once lovers, went their separate ways but ended up in the same profession. The story tells how they were clearly blaming each other over some territorial dispute and end up threatening each other. The ending is left up to the listener.

Step Overture is a very heavy, progressive instrumental track, kinda reminds me of old Genesis [Watcher of the Skies]. What inspired that song, and were/ are you into more progressive styled bands [Genesis, ELP, Yes]?
 I grew up on that stuff yeah. Love the way it mixes into the pure rock
genre.

The Bells is probably the closest thing to the Heep sound and feel on this album. I can quite imagine it in the Heep set. what can you tell about how this track came about – in to a great heavy track[?]
It was just that – a heavy riff track I had for a long time but never actually played it to the guys. It’s about a guy who turns rain into gold – you can imagine the trouble that caused.

Aside from social media, is there any other promotional plans – possibly any live performances?
No live stuff. Too much else going on. I think I’ll carry on recording my songs over time. Maybe an e.p. next year.

You obviously like working with strings, choirs, orchestra… very different approaches to Uriah Heep’s work. Is there anything you’d like to do on your own in the future, perhaps outside of the traditional rock realm?
I’d like to get into some hard core comedy rock a la Zappa etc. Have a good old play on lyrics and stuff!

Can you give me a List of some of your current & past favorite recordings [not yours] to listen to?
Early Steven Wilson currently. From the past everything from Mozart to
Beatles to genesis and a million others. There is so much music out there it’s quite frightening, but hell – let’s have more…….

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0fSGJjNexQE8Rj7A4AXSdw

Interview KJJ, Nov 2017

 

 

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