Tag Archives: Peter Hesslein

LUCIFER’S FRIEND – The Last Stand

A new compilation from German progressive / hard rock band Lucifer’s Friend marks the end of this great band, following the losses of founding members Dieter Horns [bass] last year, and singer John Lawton earlier this year. The band had began in 1970, and continued until 1981 with Lawton leaving the band in 1976 to join Uriah Heep, then returning for one album in 1980 following the departure of his replacement Mike Starrs. The band regrouped in 1994 as Lucifer’s Friend II, minus founding member – keyboard player Peter Hecht, and with a new drummer, and released the album Sumo Grip. They disbanded again, but Lawton, Horns, and guitarist Peter Hesslein would reunite again in 2014 to record some new songs for the compilation Awakening in 2015. They then played some shows in 2015, when they would record Live At Sweden Rock [issued the next year]. 2016 also saw the release of a brand new studio album titled Too Late To Hate, which was followed by 2019’s excellent Black Moon album. During this time health issues prevented the band from playing live before the Covid pandemic started in 2020. At the time of Black Moon John Lawton stated that another album was largely done, and was just awaiting his vocals. But Covid had closed the studio John would normally work out of, so no chance to record seems to have shelved this project. Sadly, In December of last year Dieter Horns, who had had recent health issues contracted Covid-19, and passed away in hospital. Further tragic news came when John Lawton suddenly passed away on June 29 of this year, leaving fans shocked. Late last year Peter Hesslein released his first solo [instrumental] album Night Drive, and is set to release the follow up, Night Drive 2.

The Last Stand is a fitting touch to end the band’s catalogue (unless of course, there’s things in the vaults 🙂 ) . It is compiled by Hesslein, from the albums from Sumo Grip, up until Black Moon.

Track Listing:

1 Heartbreaker
2 Sheree
3 Ride The Sky ‘94
4 You Touched Me With Your Heart
5 Pray
6 Did You Ever
7 Demolition Man
8 When Children Cry
9 Straight For The Heart
10 This Time
11 Black Moon
12 Passengers
13 Call The Captain
14 Freedom
15 When You’re Gone (Live)

KJ, 09 /’21

John Lawton Of Lucifer’s Friend : Black Moon Interview

Lucifer’s Friend’s brand new album “Black Moon” is out! [see my review], and fans of this well aged German band [fronted by an English singer] will be happy to hear it! Fan  and album artist Damian Bydlinski [of Lizard] also gives us a few words on how he got involved and his favorite LF songs!

Singer John Lawton was with the band in the beginning and has sang on all but 2 of the band’s 11 albums. Here John answer questions regarding the band’s brand new album and updates on members and future Lucifer’s Friend plans.

http://www.lucifersfriend.com 

LF black moon 1

LF has been back together for 4+ years and Black Moon is the bands 4th release. Did you forsee the band being so busy and are you happy with the reception overall that the bands return has received?

John: Yes I think so. After such a long time away fans of the band were naturally curious to see what we had to offer. That we could play Sweden Rock festival made it easier to reach quite a few new fans. Overall the reaction has been good plus the fact that it gave us the push to write new material.

The first thing that stands out on the new album is the artwork. I like how it ties in with the bands debut from 1970. Can you tell me a bit about how that piece came together and if bandmembers had much input (idea wise)?

John: Actually the artwork was put together as a backstage pass by Damien Bydlinski the singer with our support band Lizard on our Polish tour. He is not only a good musician but also a graphic designer. We loved the idea and after a few tweaks we had it…..

How do songs for LF come together nowadays – pieced together through emails or is there a time where you’re all in the studio together?

John: The days when bands spend time in the studio rehearsing before they record I think are gone. Firstly, the logistics of spending the amount of time it takes to go through say 10-15 songs arrangements, keys etc. is really time consuming. These days with so much computer stuff available to musicians, it’s easier to sit at home and fine tune everybody’s parts…..
It the same with LF, Peter Hesslein or Dieter Horns will forward to me the basic track which I can the add the vocals too. I record my vocals in peace 😎😎here in the UK and then via the wonders of the web, they are sent back for the guys to work their final parts. The only time we spend together apart from gigs is in the rehearsal room before the live stuff. But even when we are not recording or gigging we are on the phone to each other at least a couple of times a week…..

You write the lyrics – what sort of inspires you for ideas and topics these days?

John: A lot of the lyrics are based upon stories I hear in the news or read about. For instance on TOO LATE TO HATE some of the lyrics relate to the thousands of refugees trying to get to Europe for a better life. Even 2 years later this story is still making headlines….

Can you give me a bit of insight into particular songs on the new album – how they started, ideas – really like the title track, Call The Captain, Little Man, Passengers,

John: CALL THE CAPTAIN is based on recent stories again in the news about mental heath issues and how younger people are being manipulated by social media, wanting to be like the celebrity’s they see in magazines. The title is just about trying to reach parts of the brain (the captain and pilot) for the right direction….🙂🙂

LITTLE MAN relates to my 2 grandsons and watching the grow up. PASSENGERS is written to open people’s eyes to the shit we are doing to the world….

BLACK MOON – Really just about those days when everything seems doomed to failure but you struggle through….

Any others that you’re particularly happy with?

John: I’m happy with all of them, they all have meanings hopefully not only to me but also to the listener…..

There’s a number of guests on this album, really dig the horn solo on Black Moon – classic LF touch. Can you comment on how some these (or this one) come up?

John: On BLACK MOON Peter and I were talking about a particular solo part and we tossed around a few ideas until Stephan (drummer) suggested a trumpet player who was with the James Last Orchestra (Chuck Findley). He lives in LA but very kindly went in the studio and put down (I think) a blistering solo…
On FREEDOM Peter new Stephan (violin player) from studio days and again asked him to put something together….and he did and I think it’s one of the highlights of this album….

What can you tell me about Simon Hesslein and his involvement with the band?

John: Simon runs a very successful music business in New York and has hits under different names, he has always wanted to produce a Lucifer’s Friend album so we said hey go for it. Unfortunately, it was at the wrong time as he was also very busy so that’s why the delay in the release. Simon is very accomplished at what he does and we are very proud of the final mix….

How is everyone’s health?

John: Not so good actually. Peter really needs an operation on his shoulder as he is in pain daily. The only drawback is that the operation is very complicated and the recovery time is long…at least a year and the surgeons have told him there is no guarantee of a complete recovery…it’s very sad that it happened to Peter but we hold out for him to get back to playing ASAP ….
Dieter Horns has recovered well from his problems, which is a great relief and I’m getting there slowly….oh the joys of getting older 🤪🤪🤪🕺🕺

Will we see many LF shows this year and will there be plenty from Black Moon in the set?

John: For the foreseeable future we won’t be performing live, some people have said “we could get another guitarist to stand in for Peter or another bass player for Dieter” – but we couldn’t go out as LF without those 2. I am hopeful that one day we could be on stage again together….
We still have one more new album to release….I still need to do the vocals etc. but that looks like 2020 release…..

You’ve used Jogi [Wichmann] on keyboards over several LF projects, but he’s only a guest on BM. Was it just easier for Peter to do keyboards or something else?

John: Jogi was very busy doing studio work around that time and he was playing keyboards in the musical CATS…..
Peter had put down most of the keyboard parts that he wanted Jogi to play but his were really good, so we stuck with it….

One thing – there is no vinyl edition of Black Moon (or previous few releases). Any chance this can be fixed ? 🙂

John: At the moment I don’t think so, unless we sell quite a bunch of CD’s the company is a bit reluctant to go vinyl…..There was talk of TOO LATE TO HATE on vinyl but nothing concrete yet….

Next year Mark’s the 50th anniversary of the first Lucifers Friend album. (A couple of things) – do you have any long outstanding g memory or stories fro. Making that album?
Will there be any anniversary reissue or show to celebrate it?

JohnWow – is it that long [?]….it has stood the test of time, I think 🥳🥳
It was a strange time for me, coming off the back of doing vocals on Asterix and then going straight to something really heavy was a bit of a kick but a good one…..
Looking back, it was a great time and when I think that there was no rehearsal time, I was it in at the deep end with heavy lyrics 👹👹👹
The guys were looking for an English singer and I happened to be there at that time….
I don’t think there will be a re-issue as the there have been so many bootleg copies etc. down the years but it’s not such a bad idea….

From the Album’s Cover Artist – Damian Bydlinski : 

“I am a big fan of Lucifer’s Friend. The proposal to make a cover was a great honor for me. 

I love all their albums. But for the best, I think – two albums: “Banquet” and “… Where the Groupies Killed the Blues”.
With favorite songs – it’s harder because there’s a lot of them and a derivation from different albums. But the most important ones are:
Hobo, Burning Ships, Ride the Sky, Groovin Stone, Spanish Galleon, Dirty Old Town, Fugitive ….
However – there is a song – at which time since I heard it for the first time – I always have shivers and I am overcome with emotion –
“Thus Spoke Oberon” – amazing melody, arrangement and brilliant singing of John.

The history of the cover is quite simple. Two years ago – LF and my band Lizard – we played three concerts in Poland. For this occasion, I designed a poster and tickets – the project appealed to John and asked if they could use it for the new LF album. After introducing some changes in the color scheme – this cover was created.”

For more on Damian’s art [he does most of the art for Lizard albums] and to check out his band, visit –  http://lizard-band.com/index.html

 

For more reading:

https://glassonyonpr.com/2019/04/27/lucifers-friend-releases-new-studio-album/

http://www.grande-rock.com/interviews/lucifers-friend 

http://www.roadtometal.com.br/2017/11/john-lawton.html 

https://www.artrock.pl/artykuly/1211/lucifers_friend_lizard_wroclaw_firlej_14_paxdziernika_2017_roku.html

KJJ, 05/’19

LUCIFER’S FRIEND : Black Moon

Since German based rockers Lucifers Friend reunited 4 years ago they’ve been very busy. what started out as a ‘best of’ compilation with a few new songs grew into a few live shows, a live album, more live shows, a new studio, and now their latest – “Black Moon” – the band’s 4th release in as many years. Founding members – Peter Hesslein [guitar, keyboards], Dieter Horns [bass], and John Lawton [vocals], along with [drummer] Stephan Eggert, and a handful of guests on this album.
First off – love the album artwork, paintings by Damian Bydinski. LF had a few classic album covers in the 70s, and I love this one, even including the original characters from the debut album [nearing 50 years]. My only beef is there’s no vinyl LP available for this album. Oh well…

LF black moon
Too Late To Hate was released in 2016. It was a decent album, but I think Black Moon is a step up. The title track is great opener; LF fans will easily dig this rocker; added trumpet solo and congas are a nice touch [this band usually mixed it up with brass, and different instruments on early albums]. The 2nd track here is “Passengers”, a more progressive rocker, love the lengthy intro; this one bounces along with Lawton’s vocals coming in and the song building back up. In their earliest days LF drew comparisons to the likes of Deep Purple & Uriah Heep, and certainly the first few songs will impress fans looking for those sounds. Black Moon keeps up a pretty good pace with “Rolling The Stone”, “Palace Of Fools” and “Call The Captain” – another favorite here, a bit of a pop-rocker, but a good tune and memorable chorus. There’s some decent more poppy tunes in “Behind The Smile” and “Glory Days”, these remind me a bit of the band’s “Sumo Grip” stuff. Featured ballad is “Little Man”, a bit of blues and soul – perfectly suited for Lawton’s voice, and a brief / cool guitar break from Hesslein.

Interesting thing about this band is they could never be categorized. Starting out as a very heavy band, then veering in to jazz, fusion, pop, prog,.. so aside from good songs and great vocals, don’t have any pre-conceived ideas of what to expect. [And here one could easily stick a good few tracks amongst their early LF favorites]. Yeah – I’d like this band to make a really heavy album [and turn up the guitar], but Lucifer’s Friend is not that band this time out, and those that like the band’s past albums will be quite happy with Black Moon.

https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/lucifers-friend-black-moon-cd/

http://www.lucifersfriend.com

https://www.facebook.com/LucifersFriendOfficial/

KJJ, 05/’19