Tag Archives: British Rock

YES to celebrate 50th Anniversary of Close To The Edge.

Progressive pioneers YES have announced a change to their forthcoming The Album Series Tour 2022 as they will celebrate the 50th anniversary of their iconic album Close to the Edge. This tour, twice rescheduled due to the Covid pandemic was intended to showcase YES’s 1974 classic Relayer album but will now feature Close to the Edge, performed in full, along with other classic tracks from YES’s extensive catalogue.  An announcement regarding the European dates will be made shortly.
The tour line-up features Steve Howe (guitars), Alan White (drums), Geoff Downes (keyboards), Jon Davison (vocals), Billy Sherwood (bass guitar and backing vocals) with additional drums and percussion by Jay Schellen. All tour dates are as previously announced and all tickets remain valid. A full performance of the Relayer album will now be featured in a future tour in The Album Series.The show will comprise full production and a high-definition video wall directed by Roger Dean who will also be joining the tour with an exhibition of YES related art.
Following the release of The Yes Album and Fragile, in 1971, YES released what is widely considered one of the most defining albums, not only for YES but for the whole progressive movement. Close to the Edge became an inspiration for their contemporaries and for successive generations of musicians.
We reached a real high, doing ‘Close to the Edge’,” said Steve Howe. “We valued the musicianship, the artistic ideas and the vocalising that people bring and that’s why we’re still doing it, because it’s exciting to do! ‘Close to the Edge’ was voted the most-proggy album possibly ever made. It was very experimental. We had already done 10-minute epics but with ‘Close to the Edge’ we just took it a stage further and I’m very pleased we were brave enough to do that.”

YES 2022 UK Tour Dates Are:
June 2022 
15th June       Wednesday   Glasgow        Royal Concert Hall17th June       Friday             Manchester   Bridgewater Hall18th June       Saturday        Nottingham   Royal Concert Hall20th June       Monday          Liverpool        Philharmonic Hall21st June        Tuesday         London           Royal Albert Hall22nd June       Thursday       York                Barbican
24th June       Friday             Birmingham   Symphony Hall
26th June       Sunday          Newcastle      O2 City Hall
28th June       Tuesday         Dublin Eire    Vicar Street
29th June       Wednesday   Cork Eire       Opera House
Tickets remain valid for the rescheduled shows. For full details and to book tickets for all shows go to venue website or http://yesworld.com/live where you can also book Meet and Greets with the band. 

About YES
Steve Howe: guitars, backing vocals (1970 –1981, 1990–1992, 1995–present)
Alan White: drums, percussion (1972 – present)
Geoff Downes: keyboards (1980–1981, 2011–present)
Jon Davison: lead vocals, acoustic guitar (2012–present)
Billy Sherwood: guitar, backing vocals ((1994, 1997–2000), bass guitar, backing vocals (2015–present)

Formed in 1968 by Jon Anderson and the late, and much-missed, Chris Squire, YES have been one of the most innovative, influential and best-loved bands in rock music history. Their 1970s albums The Yes AlbumFragileClose to the EdgeYessongs (a triple live album set), Tales From Topographic Oceans, Relayer and Going For The One were ground-breaking in musical style and content. Their music also became synonymous with artist Roger Dean whose distinctive YES logo design and artwork adorned the lavish gatefold presentation sleeves of many YES albums.With sales of over 50 million records, the Grammy-award winning YES were inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2017 where they performed Roundabout from the album Fragile and the FM radio-friendly Owner Of A Lonely Heart from the 1985 album 90125.  In 2021 YES released their 22nd Studio album, The Quest, produced by Steve Howe, which went to No.1 in the UK rock chart and entered the Official UK Album Chart at No.20. 
http://www.yesworld.com http://www.facebook.com/yestheband http://www.twitter.com/yesofficial http://www.youtube.com/user/yesofficial http://www.instagram.com/yesofficial

British guitarist MK (Mike Kremastoules)  releases new video from forthcoming album

A cool instrumental track from former Streetfighter & Dedringer guitarist MK (Mike Kremastoules). “Run” will appeal to fans of Gary Moore and Steve Vai, great melody and it rocks. Check out the press release and video below. You can also check ut more tracks from his upcoming album at his website – https://www.mikekremastoules.com/

Press release:

Rising rock instrumentalist MK (Mike Kremastoules) unveils news of his latest video & single release ‘Run’. The late 2021 debut ‘Butterfly’ provided an insight into MK’s emotive & soaring guitar work – now this contrasting single shines a spotlight on MK’s capability to crank things up and enter the retro hard rock arena. 

‘Run’ powers along with its driving stadium rock grooves – providing the back drop for MK’s melodic hook lines and themes and for his solo outbreaks to take more adventurous twists that turns. Sonically tipping it’s hat to heavyweights such as Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Slash and Gary Moore, this new instalment from MK is taken from his forthcoming album ‘Calling’.  A collection of instrumental tracks exploring his adoration for guitar playing whilst projecting a fusion of styles from a wide musical spectrum. As a stalwart of the British music scene (formerly earning his stripes as lead guitarist with 80’s outfit Ded Ringer), MK’s music oozes maturity in sounds, techniques and compositional qualities. 

Having taken his first steps into a solo career in 2021 – the Leeds (UK) guitarist entered the world with the soulfully melodic and ballad-like ‘Butterfly’. After debuting on the No1 playlist spot at Banks Radio Australia, the track (with its genre blurring qualities of progressive rock, blues and AOR), quickly captured support from radio stations and specialist media around the globe, including the likes of UK’s Total Rock & Hard Rock Hell Radio and many in the US. MK now strides forward with his energetic new track ‘Run’ – embarking on a relentless crusade to reach a wider audience of rock music lovers. News of his full debut album and UK live shows will be landing very soon.

One for head bangers and air guitarists alike – Run is officially released on digital platforms on Monday 28th Feb 2022 via Kycher. 

Keep up with MK at: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MKkremastoules

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MKkremas

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mike__kremastoules/

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@mikekremastoules

Website: https://www.mikekremastoules.com/


KEN HENSLEY – My Book Of Answers to get special vinyl reissue

Originally released last year on CD & vinyl, Ken Hensley’s posthumously released My Book Of Answers will get a special white & black ‘splatter’ vinyl reissue in May, on Cherry Red Records.

The album came months after Hensley’s passing, featuring 9 tracks, and cover art by Olesya Vasilieva, package design by Hugh Gilmour, and lengthy liner notes from Ken Hensley, as well as from Steve Weltman (manager & friend). Each track on this album was accompanied by a video. Stand-out cuts included “The Cold Sacrifice”, “Stand (Chase The Beast Away)”, and “Lost (My Guardian)”.

PETER GOALBY – Second solo album coming in May

A mere 6 months following the Peter Goalby’s debut solo release (of archived recordings), Cherry Red Records will release a follow up titled I Will Come Runnin’, also recorded during the same period.

Fans who waited 30+ years to hear something new from Peter following his departure from Uriah Heep, and a solo single, can add another album consisting of 10 songs, along with the aid of Paul Hodson, Robin George, and Eddy Morton.

Peter Goalby has been extremely surprised and happy with the response & reviews to the first album. I Will Come Runnin’ will be released May 6, 2022, and can be pre-ordered at Cherry Red Records, as well as Amazon.

*A 10-track album personally overseen (from tape transfer, mastering and artwork) by the former Uriah Heep and Trapeze vocalist .

1 I Will Come Runnin’
2 Rock ‘N’ Roll Crazy
3 A Brand New Love
4 Dancing on Water
5 Somebody’s Fool
6 It Was There All The Time
7 Waitin’ For An Angel To Call
8 There’s Always A Place In My Heart
9 Perfect Strangers
10 A Little Piece Of Heaven


KJ, 02/’22

LEADER OF DOWN – Former IRON MAIDEN guitarist guest’s on new single

British rock heavyweights Leader of Down, who are the final band of the late great Würzel (Ex Motörhead) recently announced that following the bands critically acclaimed debut album “Cascade into Chaos” in 2018, they are ready to unleash a second album entitled “The Screwtape Letters” on April 8th 2022.  Mixed by long-time Motörhead producer and Grammy winner Cameron Webb and mastered at Abbey Road Studios, the album will be available worldwide through US label Cleopatra Records and will be released on all formats including a special limited edition red vinyl and CD with full color 20 page booklet, featuring 10 blockbusting tracks with titles such as “Cat’s Eye Night” and “Holloway Motel” that will take no prisoners with their own brand of heavy rock ‘n’ roll. 

Leader of Down launch the first single and video from the album Hitman on 3rd March.   Hitman features special guest and long-term friend, ex Iron Maiden guitarist and member of Lionheart Dennis Stratton. “It was a great pleasure to be asked to provide a solo for Hitman and having guested on stage with Leader of Down on a recent UK show it was great to be back with the boys and appear in the video as well”

Leader of Down’s career so far has seen them headline shows across Europe as well as supporting the likes of Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons and Nitrogods receiving rave reviews for their live shows from around the world. Leader of Down will be supporting Tank on their spring UK tour before headlining the Heavy Metal Mayhem Festival in England, many more shows will follow throughout 2022 and the band have now been added to the Hard Rock Hell Festival in January 2023. The new album will see the band take a new journey as we sail out of the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Leader of Down are:  Matt Baker – Vocals  / Alex Ward – Guitar / Tim Atkinson – Bass  / Daniel Akaoui – Drums 

*Leader of Down’s 2018 would also feature a guest vocal appearance from the late Lemmy –

https://facebook.com/leaderofdownofficial. https://leaderofdown.com/homehttps://twitter.com/leaderofdown  . https://instagram.com/leaderofdown . https://open.spotify.com/artist/48llR4uRL1F33GWJrQkin3  . https://music.apple.com/us/artist/leader-of-down/1435415599 


URIAH HEEP – A Look At High and Mighty

Among the Heep faithful there are 3 albums that tend to stir up the most controversy and conversation, and often one of them is cited as the band’s ‘worst’ album by many fans or rock historians. I’ve already written previously my support for Conquest and for Equator, both albums that land at the bottom of any Heep album ranking, and the 3rd in that trilogy would be 1976’s High and Mighty – the last to feature original singer & founding member David Byron. Frankly, none of these 3 land in the bottom 3 for me, in particular High and Mighty, an album I rank in the top half of the band’s catalogue.

High and Mighty came at the end of a very busy period for the band. In ’75 – the band had changed bass players, adding John Wetton in place of Gary Thain, who had been fired, and the band got down to releasing Return To Fantasy in the summer of ’75. Ken Hensley also had his 2nd solo album Eager To Please released not too far off from that. A huge world tour followed the release of that Heep album, followed by David Byron’s solo album Take No Prisoners, and a Best of Uriah Heep issued in most markets (except for North America). So, to say High and Mighty might’ve been rushed soon after is more than likely. Despite Return To Fantasy being a huge success in the UK, the band’s last few albums were selling less in North America, and with this perhaps was the motivation to ‘fire’ Gerry Bron as the new album’s producer and produce it themselves. But, where as RTF had many more band co-writes and member contributions, High and Mighty would consist of entirely Ken Hensley penned tracks, with Wetton getting 2 co-writes. Ken has stated in the past the album felt more like a solo album, and both he and Wetton noted that not much of the band were around at the time, leaving the 2 of them to take on most of the production, aided by engineer Ashley Howe.

John Wetton’s presence is felt immediately on the opening track “One Way Or Another”, in which he takes the lead vocal. A fantastic beginning to this album with the opening guitar riff coming in with a fresh new strong sound, before Wetton’s bass, then drums and organ join in. This is a standout track, and a shame it never got a proper single release. There would be no global single from this album, with this song being issued in the UK (limited), and nothing in North America. David Byron was apparently off with chicken pox at the time of recording this track, so that was the reason given for Wetton’s lead vocal. John recalled in an interview that when David did come back he went in to sing the song, part way through stopped, saying that it was fine the way it was. “Weep In Silence”, a heavy guitar driven ballad, with Hensley’s distinct guitar sound throughout and a great vocal from Byron remains a fan favorite from this album, though it was never played live. “Misty Eyes” starts out gently with Byron singing the opening lines alone before the band comes in softly with acoustic guitar, organ and drums. A good lighter pop song that would’ve made a catchy single, IMO. The first side ends with “Midnight”, the longest track on the album, and most progressive,. An often overlooked epic in the band’s catalogue, and although Wetton didn’t get a co-write on this Or on “One Way Or Another”, his performances (bass, guitar, keyboards, vocals or backing vocals) make these 2 tracks his greatest contributions to his time with the band.

Side 2 opens with the anthem “Can’t Keep A Good Band Down”, a response and dig at the band’s critics. A good upbeat rocker that would’ve (again) made for a fine single. A shame the song would never feature in the band’s live show back then or ever. Next up was the pop-rock of “Woman Of The World”; a good tune, tho’ a bit on the lighter side. Might’ve made a decent single, but like a number of tracks here it lacks an extended solo or something unique as the song merely fades out quickly after the last chorus. “Woman Of The World” would include the band’s message to Bron in the harmonies – You can stick this contract up your flue “Footprints In The Snow” is a favorite of mine on this album, co-credited to Wetton. Love the mix of acoustic and electric guitars organ, and harmonies. An underrated classic from the Byron era, IMO. From here, despite how much I love this album, I can see how critics might disagree with my enthusiasm, as the next 3 tracks drop off a bit, especially the funky keyboardy “I Can’t Stop Singing”. I never ‘got’ this song, and listening to it now, I still don’t. . tho’ it’s not bad, and David sounds convincing on the verses, but the chorus… meh…. “Make A Little Love” is a guitar blues n boogie number, featuring slide guitar. Sounds like it could’ve been a good old school jam rocker, but it ends too early, like a few tracks here, sounding rushed . This one did make it in to the live set on the High & Mighty tour, but like the rest of the album was never played again (aside from Ken resurrecting a track live with John Wetton). The album ends on a high note, but a sad one with “Confession”, with David delivering an apologetic lyric on Ken’s piano ballad. It’s an excellent, moving ballad that sits behind the band’s previous ballads “Rain” and “The Easy Road”. A shame it ends so soon.

In 1995 I interviewed John Wetton and he recalled no leftover tracks being recorded, but sure enough 2 outtakes would eventually be released. “Sunshine”, a good upbeat number; love Lee Kerslake’s intro and playing here. The other cut is the guitar heavy “Name Of The Game”. This song appeared in another version on Ken Hensley’s From Time To Time album in ’94 (an album of solo outtakes and demos), as Ken had recorded the track in the late ’70s with members of Bad Company. A great heavy riff to open this song, fantastic delivery from David and slide guitar from Ken. To me, this sounds like it wasn’t totally completed or mixed well enough, hence it’s lack of inclusion on the album, but a crying shame this wasn’t totally finished and cleaned up and included – could’ve made for a very different outcome of an album that is often brushed off as “lightweight”.

High and Mighty received a huge press bash at the time in Switzerland, where James Bond was filmed. But after that the album dropped – with no worldwide single, and little push. As the band toured the US before it’s release – with no single on the radio or record in the shops, High and Mighty was kinda doomed. The tour saw Ken Hensley leave the band and return, and David Byron fired at the end of the European tour. John Wetton had already made up his mind due to the internal conflict, and and left as well. Many fans wrote the band off after David Byron was dismissed, and the band’s profile and album sales would continue to sink in North America.

But really, I kinda love this album. I realize it may be seen as lightweight or too much of a Ken Hensley solo project by many old Heep fans, but to me it had a new fresh approach and sound following Return To Fantasy and Wonderworld. The band experimented, did something new, and High and Mighty offered up a number of tracks that would’ve made fine singles. With John Wetton having a major hand in it, it sounded much more modern in tune with UK nd Asia, and a forward step from the band’s previous albums. Heck, I even think the album cover art is pretty cool!

KJ, 02/’22

SAXON – Metalhead (Revisited)

Released in November of ’99 Metalhead was the first SAXON album I actually got – and really liked! I vaguely remember a track from the Rock The Nations album received some radio play over here at the time (“Northern Lady” or “Waiting For The Night”), and I picked up that album in a cut-out bin not too long after. It didn’t make a huge impression on me and through a few moves the album was lost or given up (I hated packing things up, so on a few occasions parted with some records). Anyway, Saxon was not on a major label here, nor did I hear much else from them, aside from that cover of Christopher Cross’s “Ride Like The Wind”. In late ’99 I received the Metalhead CD (and bio) and put it on. The title and cover was certainly appealing to me, as a metal fan, and one looking for a great ‘new’ (old) band to discover and pick up on. Metalhead featured the founding members – Biff Byford and Paul Quinn, along with guitarist Doug Scarratt, bassist Nibbs Carter, and German drummer Fritz Randow (ex of German prog bands ELOY and EPITAPH).

From the opening build-up leading in to the title track I was expecting something big, and by the time I got to the end of the 4th song – I had to go back and re-listen! “Metalhead”, “Travelers In Time”, and especially “Conquistador” (love the acoustic intro before the band kicks in and the song takes off). These had my hooked and I listened to the first 3 songs repeatedly before I even got to the rest of the disc. And after that there’s really no duds here, this is a full-on classic metal album, with further great tracks like “All Guns Blazing” (killer intro) , “Watching You”, and epic finale “Sea Of Life”. Love the production, the big guitar sound, Biff’s distinctive voice; it all worked so well. A great album, and the follow up (w/ the same line up) made for a fine pair. Killing Ground featured another outstanding title track, as well a cool cover of King Crimson’s “In The Court Of The Crimson King”.

KJ, 02/’22

JOHN SLOMAN – Two Rivers (a review)

It has been a lengthy journey for John Sloman, once seen as a rising star, after stints with Uriah Heep and Gary Moore, along with his unique voice and wide range, his talents on multiple instruments, his songwriting, and his looks then that drew comparisons to Robert Plant. But after 1989’s Disappearances Can Be Deceptive solo album wasn’t a huge hit, not much was heard from John for years until he resumed making solo albums in 2003, mainly by himself. One thing that is evident on John’s latest creation, Two Rivers (on Red Steel Music) is that there is no one like him. John does write formatted pop-rock songs, or produce with any commercial approach in mind. There’s no simple 10 tracks of riff / verse/ chorus/ verse/ chorus/ solo/ chorus/ fadeout. What you get on John’s journey in time dealing with his childhood and past (I haven’t grasped all the lyrics, so I can’t be precise on the entire concept) is a very atmospheric, very different type of album. everything flows together nicely with John often having a few words between songs or during the intros. It makes more sense and more enjoyable listening to the whole album as opposed to picking out single songs. But, if I had to pick out highlights – the title track, “Scenes From An Old Biscuit Tin”, “Charing Cross Moon”, and “Walking Along The Taff”. Much of what is enjoyable about this album is listening to the stories John tells in the songs. Again, if you’re expecting any kind of conventional rock type album, this is not it – this is 14 storytelling tracks put to John’s unique musical approach. This is all acoustic guitars, piano, bass ,vocals [lots], choirs [all John], keyboards, etc….. no electric guitars, no big solos or riffs. Influences of Zappa, acoustic Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd.

Best listened to on headphones -with an open mind, without any ‘rock’ expectations, and enjoy the journey. Love the artwork, btw, and am told the packaging is excellent (might we see a vinyl release?) .

Red Steel plans to follow up Two Rivers with a compilation containing tracks from John’s previous solo albums to be titled Conspectus.

To pre-order: https://music.apple.com/album/two-rivers/1607563545



KJ, 02/’22

PHOENIX – Out Of The Sun

PHOENIX formed after ’70s classic band ARGENT disbanded, as it consisted of John Verity, Jim Rodford and Bob Henrit. Verity had joined Argent for their last 2 albums, replacing Russ Ballard; the band took on a change of direction, but Verity wanting to get back to a more straight ahead rock band came up with Phoenix. The band debuted in 1976 with their self-titled album. Not sure how well it did, but it is a classic ’70s hard-rock album, full of great guitar, Verity’s distinctive vocals, and a killer rhythm section., and stand outs like “From The Ashes”, “Woman Like You”, and “Easy”. Highly recommended ’70s rock listening, with Verity putting out a 30th anniversary CD edition some years ago.

Anyway, the band went in to record a 2nd album (which is the topic here), which was shelved as the record company at the time wanted the band to take on a more American radio friendly sound, hence 1979’s flop – In Full View. The band would release 1 more single before disbanding.

Now, nearly 43 years later that 2nd ‘lost’ album has been rediscovered and mastered for release by John Verity. Titled Out Of The Sun, with a cover that resembles that classic album cover for the Phoenix debut album, featuring 8 tracks individually penned by each band member, as well as a track from Chris White (Zombies).

Upon first listen through, it is safe to say if you liked that first Phoenix album – you will really like this! A great mix of rockers, ballads, a bit of funk, blues… Out Of The Sun opens with “Are You Ready”, an upbeat heavy rocker, very fitting musically and lyrically here. (Can’t help but be reminded of Grand Funk’s song of the same title). There are a couple of piano based ballads [featuring Rod Argent] – “Fallin'”, which is highlighted by Verity’s vocal, harmonies, and a smokin’ guitar break, as well as the cut “When My Boat Comes In”, again with a great high vocal,, a bit of synths, – this one would’ve made a fine single. “Loser” is a rocker, with a good bit of attitude; this song really makes me think these guys were really having a blast recording this stuff. “Spider Woman” is a cool sounding slower number, a bit funky, great groove, one of my favorites here, as is “Take My Music”, a bit more of an uptempo rocker, complete with some nice backing harmonies, a few changes, killer guitar sound; too bad this one fades out so soon. “Winds Of Change”, followed by “You Got Soul” close out this disc, both strong cuts, a bit of blues, soul, funk, and solid rock.

It is a shame this album was lost for so long, because it is a fantastic follow up and equally as impressive as the debut. Not a dodgy cut here. Just a very cool sounding guitar rock album of the 70s, from a tight sounding band that ended too soon.

RIP Jim Rodford, 2018

Order at > http://www.johnverity.com

Kj, 01/’22

ROBIN GEORGE – An Exclusive Interview

No photo description available.

British guitarist / songwriter Robin George may be better known to many for his vast list of big name collaborations, but his output as a solo artist is often overlooked, and over the global pandemic he’s been busy adding to his solo discography with a number of new albums, remastered and reworked recordings, and a few surprises. One of his latest is Wilderness, (which I’ve written about previously), and here Robin answers my questions (and tosses in some press feedback) about all his new releases as well as his influences, and what we can look forward to hearing in the near future. *For more info and ordering of Robin’s new releases go to http://www.robingeorge.co.uk

The last time we spoke was around the time of the Byron Band release.  You’ve been very busy since then, and in particular since the release of History in 2014. Since then there’s been plenty of releases. Can you start with the History release and your working relationship with Angel Air Records?  


Words From the much-missed Malcolm Dome:

As you’ll hear on the ‘History’ album, Robin George clearly deserves such accolades and plaudits, because the quality and individuality of the music here is simply remarkable. More so, as the tracks here, remastered as one would expect, have been left as they were at the time and represent a fulfilling exercise in the combination of power, song writing and intelligence. What this album underlines is how creative he was even in his formative years.

There are clearly some hidden gems . For instance, you’ll get to hear the original version of ‘Heartline’ a single through Bronze Records in April 1985. If you want to appreciate every nuance and aspect of what makes this a truly great pop rock song, then this is the prime representation.

History is not a nostalgia trip. It’s a lesson in music for everyone.

Angel Air was an unusual deal, a partnership really, 50%50, which was unheard of, but as all musos know there is no real music industry anymore, the internet has put paid to that!

I wanted my music to be heard somehow so I signed to them. They released 7 of my albums, and my loyal friends and followers seemed to like them!

I have to say as a label the packaging/Artwork was very good indeed, and the valid re-releases, of course. They were honest which is rare these days; they always settle their debts. So, it did work in a strange but true way… Angel Air kept my name out there to the faithfuls amongst you. Thanks chaps!

Dangerous Music 2 came out.  That is a collection of songs that you’d originally hoped to be the sequel to your debut album in 1984!? Can you tell me a bit about this album – where the tracks come from and who’s all on it? 

Dangerous Music 2 was going to be the follow up to DM, produced with Gus Dudgeon at the fab Manor Studio, owned by R Branson, who popped in occasionally while driving his kid around to get him to sleep? Then recording continued at Maison Rouge Studio in London for backing vocals etc.

I remember I was adding guitar to my track ‘Streetwise’ when Quo burst in performing their famed guitar dance. Later I went into the pool room for a chat to find Rick & Francis gently lifting Bonnie of The Pointer Sisters, who was with me, off the pool table and placing her on a sofa… without waking her. Gentlemen indeed!

Dave Holland started the sessions as the drummer, but his commitment to Judas Priest meant he had to bail out.

Charlie has played on my last 7 albums, he is the best melodic rock drummer I ‘ve had the honor and pleasure of knowing and working with… he brings my songs to life, no less!

The superb Pino Paladino was playing bass, no way to be his talent could be wasted, so I prog’d a drum machine as a stop gap. Then Gus called in Elton’s drummer the fantastic Charlie Morgan, and the rest is history.

Adrian Lee played keys and was a big influence on the sound of the trax. Chris Thompson Daniel Boone and 3 girls sang backing vocals: Bonnie Pointer, the singer from a major power ad back then and a great session singer… I joined in with the girls of course! The master recording of them was lost somehow which is why I don’t remember all their names. Sorry, girls. So, I never heard them again, but they are always fab in my memory!!

Rogue Angels was issued in 2018, and if I’m correct – your first solo album of new material in 10 years[?]  Now, this album was just you and Charlie Morgan[?]   

 I think Steven Reid’s words say it all! Better than I could! :

Angel Air Music [Release date 18.05.18] George, Robin: Rogue Angels

Recent times have seen Robin George both reappraise his incredible back catalogue and release an impressive stream of new albums. Rogue Angels is his latest set of fresh recordings and for a man long known for high profile collaborations (Robert Plant, Phil Lynott, Glenn Hughes etc), there’s a certain irony that this almost purely solo effort is undoubtedly one of his best. Having worked together regularly throughout their careers, drummer Charlie Morgan is once again the man behind Robin’s beat, the kind of telepathic bond that only time can build hugely benefiting a set of songs that positively burst with vim and vigour. With Robin handling everything else, the cohesive and ‘band’ nature of Rogue Angels really has to be experienced to be fully appreciated; the fire that burns bright from the very second “Wild Eyed Beauty Queen” comes into being completely knocking you sideways with the pure energy it possesses.

That Robin is arguably best known for bothering the charts in the 80s, and his ability to write songs that show other artists at their best, it’s often forgotten that he’s a heck of a guitarist, and with his foot thoroughly stamped on the distortion pedal, the irresistible little guitar runs that add colour and intrigue to “Dangerous Daisy” and the album’s title track (which, if I’m not mistaken, cleverly nods towards George’s biggest hit, “Heartline”) instantly snag the ear and won’t let go. A second look over the shoulder arrives in the shape of “Go Down Fighting 2018”, Robin’s debut single given a meaty reworking here and thriving in this updated form. Throughout, Robin refers lyrically to his long held ethos of LovePower & Peace, the theme of love conquering all and having the power to bring about peace, if we’d only let it, revisited numerous times across these songs and lending them an uplifting quality in the process. Something which comes across again and again in the crafted layers that are used to accentuate the insistent vocals. However, when you feel the obvious love and joy that the likes of “Dancing Shoes Again”, “Rush” and “Surreal Dream” have all been created with, then the same ethos also comes across in the hook laden music and, dare I say it, some of the best guitar solos Robin has ever pulled from his fretboard.

Over a vast and varied career Robin George has created a hugely eclectic body of work, but with the hard rocking, blues edged energy of Rogue Angels it really feels like this singer, guitarist and songwriter is making music that completely satisfies his creative need. Surely it’s no coincidence that it also comes across as one of the most impressive albums he’s put his name to.

With Rogue Angels and Wilderness [and going forward] what’s changed in your approach to writing and recording over the years?  Listening to these albums, there’s lots of great guitar, groove, rock, a bit of funk, blues…

Even some soul with Ruby Turner! I was writing solo songs from around 14 for bands I formed, then later started co-writing with guys and gals I was producing. David Byron, Phil Lynott, John Wetton, Robert Plant, Ruby Turner, Marshall Law, Vix Fuzzbox, Pete Haycock, Pete Goalby and many more. I really enjoyed all those collaborations, but now, I write solo again, suits me these days.

Re-recording, I followed technology at it’s best, then went back to real talented musicians… far more satisfying and much more fun and inspiration.

Can you talk a bit about some of your early influences as a guitar player and what’s sort of influenced your sound and style to where you are today?  

Peter Green, Johnny Winter, all old blues players, Clapton with the Beatles, Gary Moore, Neil Schon, Joe Walsh et al were all great for me. Since my early days I don’t listen to much music, if I wanna hear some I make it 😉 What comes out is how I play today, using my Marshall combo amp & BC Rich, and Washburn, Suzuki and Yamaha acoustic guitars.

No photo description available.

On Wilderness there seems to be a lot of poetry and storytelling. Can you tell me a bit about what inspires your lyrics – where ideas come from ? 

Thanks for noticing, I am being named a ‘Rock Poet’ which is gratifying indeed!

I really care about my lyrics and the messages I share with my friends.

Inspiration arrives out of the blue then I have a vast bunch of words which I slice away at until they resemble a song, Then I improve on what I have until it is a song… then I record it.

My inspiration is mostly from real life, I can hear a phrase or line in conversation that sparks an idea which lights a fire in me.

I don’t know how I do it, but I’m truly grateful for the gift of creativity.

You have a fairly unique vocal sound / style, and the only way I can describe it is sort of like Marc Bolan, fairly quieter , but not really soft. Can you tell me a bit about your vocal approach or influences? 

I never wanted to be a singer, I was a guitar player who sang a bit, but over the years I found only I could sing most of what I wrote, the way I heard it, so here I am, a song writing guitar player who sings a bit.

I have no real influences. The singers I admired were in a different league from me which I could never aspire to. Again, how I sound is what comes out.

I do think Marc was a great pop star though. I was asked to be Bolan 2 if I’d write more poppy songs, but not for me! He was a one off.

During the pandemic you’ve recorded 4 new albums, starting with Wilderness – can you give me a few lines on each of these releases – what each is about, in which order they were done, when did you come up with the ideas, and who else played on them? 

Robin has used Rockdown to nurture and finish some fantastic music, all of which is now available from Damage Control Music in Robin’s Online Store @ www.robingeorge.co.uk, and includes contributions from no less than Phil Lynott, John Wetton, Robert Plant, Sean Harris, Ruby Turner, David Byron, Glenn Hughes, Vix Fuzzbox, Pete Goalby & Pete Haycock to name just a few, Artist credits are also on site.

Robin says,

‘I’ve just remastered the Charity album LovePower and Peace that escaped about ten years ago; It’s now called RockinG LovePower with many new tracks, including a Rock Bangra Flamenco track with the major Bollywood star vocalist Mangel Singh! All Re-mastered & 2021 mixes.

I’m calling it a ‘sharing’ album because… My idea is that we retail at our cost price  (£5), then y’all who buy choose to support the causes closest to your hearts.

This is freedom of helping. I hope it works, If you can’t donate now, enjoy the music from these awesome musicians ‘till you can my friends. Then do please donate… every penny counts!’

Robin George should certainly be garnering applause as the musician who made the most of lockdown (by some long, album issuing way).

Hot on the heels of earlier 2021 releases Wilderness and Heartlines come the dovetailing pairing of Feed the Wolf and Surreal Six String; the former is the latest full length studio album from Robin George while the latter is his first fully instrumental offering (much as Heartlines was his first all acoustic release).

That his distinct and individualistic Dangerous Music sound and style is still alive and well is evident from tracks such as opener ‘Momma Sister Daughter’ (Bolan vocality meets guitaredged Robin George rock and roll), the muscly and, again, Bolan-esque (an oft-cited and valid comparison) title track and ‘Savage Song,’ a gritty, fast-paced number on which Mr George isn’t exactly hanging about.

‘Savage Song’ also highlights a major Robin George trait, that of reinventing & rerecording some of his older songs to suit his current state of musical mind (some may recall ‘Savage Song’ as a highlight of Damage Control, a supergroup of sorts featuring George, raspythroated Quireboys front man Spike, Chris Slade and the late Pete Way).

Other Feed The Wolf highlights include ‘Funky Rock Groove’ (which does exactly what it says on the tin), the bluesy sway of ‘Love is Blind’ (featuring some tasty guitar licks from Robin George), the edgy but melodic ‘Castles in the Sky’ (whose origins go back to the History of the Wolverhampton born musician) and the quirkier ‘Painful Kiss,’ originally from the album of the same name.

The album ends on the similarly quirky and very catchy ‘Early Daze,’ a looking-back and ‘If I knew then’ styled nod to more carefree and innocent times (a shorter acoustic version also sits on Heartlines).

Surreal Six String is a collection of primarily reworked numbers from across Robin George’s career and catalogue, instrumental-ised with the lyric-melody line played on guitar in effective and, on some of the tracks, quite expressive style.

Opener ‘Go Down Fighting’ was Robin George’s first major single release in 1983 but here is based on his later rocked up version; it therefore works well as a feisty instrumental.

It’s also nice to see a place for the atmospheric, tempo shifting instrumental ‘Charlotte Starlight,’ which goes back to the History album, and ‘Love Power & Peace’ (featuring Hammond fills from the late Ken Hensley and melodic guitar play from Robin George) from the all-star charity album of that name.

You’ll also find instrumental versions of Wolf numbers ‘Painful Kiss’ and ‘Love is Blind’ as well as re-workings of the more rock and roll styled ‘Dancing Shoes’ (from the Rogue Angels album) and a shorter take of the blues swaggering ‘Freedom,’ from last year’s BitterSweet HeartBeat album.

Other highlights include ‘Brandy Bottle Blues’ (another with a self-explanatory title), which features a couple of bars of blues blasting sax from Mel Collins, and album closer ‘Oxygen.’ Originally a love song, ‘Oxygen’ works equally well as an expressive guitar workout in instrumental clothing.     

So another brace of 2021 releases from a man who clearly wasn’t twiddling thumbs during lockdown/s.

Further proof of that ever-busy schedule?

Robin George has also released a fully remastered version of the Asia 2 Marquee gig from

1986 (of which he was an integral part), a Robin George & Dangerous Music Euro Tour Live CD, a RoxStar Legends compilation and a remastered retooling of the Love Power & Peace album as Rocking LovePower.

He is now looking at reissuing some Damage Control music and achieving an official release for the album he recorded with Glenn Hughes in 1989 (previously issued under decidedly dodgy and awful audio quality circumstances). 

No wonder he lives in Spain – he clearly needs, and deserves, the siestas.

Ross Muir , FabricationsHQ 

Feed The Wolf & Surreal Six String, along with all other aforementioned releases, can be purchased on CD direct from the artist’s website: http://www.robingeorge.co.uk/

You also issued 4 CDs of remasters and edits….  [again] can you tell me a bit about each of these? 

Early in Rockdown I realized the vaults contained some pure gold music with fantastic musicians and I thought, now’s the opportune time to get to work on them. So I did! All fascinating to work on but bittersweet at times because they were all my friends and I loved all. I know they all recorded with me because they wanted people to hear our music… and that’s the sweet part.

You also have a Live Asia release that you were on. Can you recall that show and how it came about and how well you got on with John, Geoff, Carl… Phil Manzanera was on that as well….

The gigs were for Nordoff Robbin, a charity close to John’s heart. They were a great group of guys. All well cool and in the groove. We got on great which I think shows in the Asia 2 Marquee gig video. John and I were introduced by Bryan Lane, Asia manager, and we hit it off straight away. John took me to his house and amazingly for me, had my single ‘Go Down Fighting’ on his deck… and he played it! John had rented a country house for the summer, and we spent lots of quality time writing, talking, practising, and planning for the gigs. We did 3 nights, JB’s Dudley and 2 at the Marquee London. Great nights indeed! John asked me to join Asia but previous commitments prevented me. Wrong timing or what!

Later he came to my Wolves studio and we recorded ‘Wasted Time’ which features on both

‘Roxstar Legends and RockinG LovePower’… far too good a track to waste! Plus, last time I spoke to John, he said he loved it, so it’s gotta be heard!

 So, aside from promoting all these new releases, what else do you have in the works or things you’d like to do down the road? 

A bit of time off I hope 😉. I’m writing new songs at the moment, so, ‘Only Time Will Tell’!

Any projects involving people you’ve collaborated in the past still in the vaults? 

Yep, the Glenn Hughes album ‘ Sweet Revenge’ is being remastered for the near future. It was bootlegged at appalling quality, don’t buy it; this is the real thing my friends!






*Photos of Robin: Fiona Bond

KJ, 12/’21