Tuesday, August 30, 2005

10 Q's with IAIN BAYNE of RUNRIG

1. What are you currently up to?

We have had a busy year touring throughout the UK and Europe. The “Best Of” was released earlier this year in Germany, and we concentrated our efforts there. Denmark kept us busy too until the end of July. One of the highlights of the year was playing The Hebridean Festival in Stornoway in July. This took the band very much back to it’s roots and nearly 6000 people turned out to see us. The atmosphere was superb.

2.You’ve a new `Best Of` coming out. How did the band decide the track listing etc?

It was a very difficult thing to decide on which tracks to include. We have an album called “Long Distance” which reflected a point in the band’s life. This collection includes what we consider to be some classic Runrig standards as well as going back to much earlier albums. With thirty years to draw upon, it’s not easy to be objective.
This album presents quite a lot of what we have been doing in the last seven or eight years too. We felt it was important to showcase some tracks from the band with Bruce on vocals and latterly with Brian Hurren on keyboards. Brian sings a track on this CD too.
As to which songs best sum up the band; ask a dozen people and you’ll get a dozen different answers. Personally my top five would be; and not in any order;
Big Sky..Alba…Proterra…Beautiful Pain…Running To The Light.

3.How do you view the current music scene etc.

I think the music industry went through a particularly difficult time over the last few years, and was left with no choice but to embrace the advances and changes in the way people listen to music. For me it’s a bit sad as I grew up with the 12inch gatefold sleeve, and half the fun was reading the sleeve notes. They were often works of art in themselves. What would have happened to Roger Dean if downloading was the order of the day back then?

4. Given that Donnie Munro and Peter Wishart have entered politics etc.

In fact it is only Peter Wishart who successfully carved out a career for himself in politics. He was returned for a second term in May and seems to be doing pretty well. He still knows he’s a wee chancer though!!
Donnie made a couple of brave attempts but sadly nothing came of it.
I formed my own party recently.It`s called the Fishing Party, and all are welcome to join. No fees or AGMs, a pair of waders and a hip flask will suffice.

I’ve often wrestled with the question; can musicians really bring influence to bear on politicians? Did the Flower Power movement change anything in the sixties? Does Bono`s posturing make world leaders tremble in their beds at night? Or did Geldof`s best efforts turn the tide at the G8? At the end of the day I’ll sound like the Lib Dem that I’m not and say yes and no. I think we have to be glad there are performers who are prepared to stick their necks out a bit and try to bring about change. I feel awareness starts with the individual, and if music can communicate on a deeper personal level, that’s where positive change really comes about.

5. How did the 30th anniversary celebs go etc.

The band celebrated 30 years at Stirling Castle in 2003. It was a milestone that not many bands get to. It gave us all the chance to reflect on a fantastic journey which gave rise to naming the new CD. No one expects a band to last as long, so to be part of something that still brings pleasure to people is a humbling experience. So many bands have shown that time is not an enemy that brings them down. Some journalists try but like pond life; they die off in the end. As long as you retain the integrity of the music and ultimately if it’s still fun, why stop!

6. What was it like when the band had hit albums etc..

We have been very lucky with our albums. They have travelled well. Recently we have had a no.10 album in Germany, a no. 1 in Denmark; the “Day of Days” DVD was also no.1 in Germany. It seems we continue to build on what we did in the past. Changes in the UK market and our own structure don’t lend itself to chasing chart positions with either albums or singles, but in terms of sales, it is great.
We always felt we had to follow the best direction for us regardless of outside influence. This stems from where and how the band grew up. We did all the leg work ourselves in the early days, including financing the recordings, so by the time we signed with Chrysalis in the late eighties we were pretty much on top of our game. It was hard but it serves you well in the long run.

7. Most memorable gigs and why?

Too many to mention. My first in Glasgow in 1980; I learned the set in six days and you’re always aware it could go tits up at any moment but I got away with it.
Loch Lomond in `91 was obviously a cracker. I would never have believed 50.000 people would want to pay to see us having a good time, but they did and we had a great time.
The first gig with Bruce in Denmark
Bruce’s first gig with us in Denmark in `98. A lot of seasoned fans were there staring up at him with a challenge in their eyes. The moment he started singing, a lot of faces seemed to melt into smiles of approval and by the end, it was a done deal.

8. Musical influences?

A lot of my early influences came from the greatest era in rock music in my opinion.
Carl Palmer, Bill Bruford, Phil Collins, John Bonham to name but a few.
I had had a great start with learning my trade in a pipe band, so the fun came from marrying some of the technical stuff to the rock genre, and you end up with a very confused drummer, who can’t make up his mind if he wants to hang it round his neck or just sit and play the things.
Like most musicians, we’re like sponges, we soak up tons of stuff that we hear and often that comes through in what we do.

9.What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I love spending time with my two daughters, who are five and two years old. They’re at a great age when they think their dad is magic. I’ll take it while I can because I know that’ll all change soon enough.
I have been doing battle with my own brain on the golf course as often as I can. That has to be the hardest game on the planet to master, and I’ve been doing it long enough.
Fly fishing; for when the golf clubs are chucked away in disgust and I require something more relaxing to do!

10. Message to the fans.

I`d like to finish with a quick message to our fans.
You have been utterly instrumental in the life blood of this band. You’re support over the years has given me a life that I dreamt of as a boy, and live as a man. The relationship between the band and the fans has truly been a symbiotic one; we are joined at the hip. Music is only one of many things in life that can bring people together, but I’m so glad so many of you want to come together to share a few songs and tunes with us.
So before any of us become the old boys and start running to the light in search of angels, keep the greatest flame burning and we’ll write a few more pages in the book of golden stories.
See you soon.

Monday, August 29, 2005


A quick catch-up with Iron Horse guitarist Jay Rusnak. Great news that the band's excellent 'Bring It On' album gets a European release via Rock Candy Records later this year. Oh and Iron Horse feature 80's metal favourate Ron Keel (very home should have a Keel album or two!).

1 What have you been up to so far this year and wehat have you planned for the next few months?

IronHorse has been preparing for it's upcoming overseas ( U.K., Germany, Japan) CD release thru Rock Candy Records (http://www.rockcandyrecords.com). We anticipate this release coming out in late September and it will feature a track listing, artwork, and title that will be different than "Bring It On" which was our U.S. release from last September.

2 Best live gig(s) this year & why? (Can be your own gigs and/or other bands)

IronHorse with The Outlaws at the PromoWest Pavilion in Columbus, Ohio---A packed house filled with IronHorse fans old and new and a surprise guest appearance by Henry Paul himself onstage during our encore.

3 New msuic/books/films you've discovered/bought this year and why are they so good?

I'm usually on the road and don't get to hear much new music but I have friends in the import CD business and they've turned me on to StarBreaker, MasterPlan, and SoulCirkus---all of whom make killer music.
Thanks for your time.

Jay Rusnak/IronHorse

Saturday, August 27, 2005


Wille Dowling (ex-Wildhearts, The Grip, Honeycrack), writer of sublime power pop/punk pop - just damn fine tunes. His new band is Jackdaw 4 and their debut album is a must have!


1. What are you currently up to? (E.g. touring/studio, etc.)

Touring and gigging as well as writing and recording new material.
Finish music for a movie animation, ‘SNOW WHITE – THE SEQUEL’, written by
Tony Hendra who played ‘Ian’ the manager in SPINAL TAP.

2. Jackdaw 4 have released a glorious pop rock album that brings to mind
Jellyfish and the Beach boys to name but two. How did the band come about
and musically what sound were you aiming for with the album?

Gramophone logic is the album I’ve wanted to make for many years.
It sounds the way it was intended to - a no compromise
kind of a deal. The band were formed from a fairly small retinue of musicians
who are A) likeable enough to travel on a tour bus with
B) good enough to play this collection of songs live.

3. Could you take us through the tracks on the album and any stories behind
the songs?

The album opens with "This Is Your Life" - a sordid tale about the place
where old celebrities go to die. I think it’s a fairly open secret
that it was inspired watching Midge Ure’s (who I toured with some years ago)
appearance on ‘This Is Your Life’.

“The Day I Wrote The Book” – it’s all here, life, death, sex, fame &
fortune. If it all becomes too much for you, all you’ve got to do is put the
Beach Boys on.

“King For A Day” - Not many people know (or care to know this), But I’m
related to Royalty you know.

“Everything I See” - Ah yes, I remember the thousands of man-hours
lavished on this track. Writing , re-writing, recording, re-recording - a
swimming pool of sweat and tears, worth it though, don’t you think?
(another drug song I’m afraid)

“Karaoke Ballet” - A journalist friend of mine shocked me recently
by confiding earnestly that he thought Gramophone Logic was the best
concept album since Sergeant Pepper. “What’s the concept?” I asked.
“they’re all songs about celebrity culture”, he replied. He’s almost
right , and I can understand why he thought this, (“Karaoke Ballet” is all
about the cult of celebrity) but hand on heart, we never set out to
make a concept album.

“Stupid” - A good up-tempo rocker about the state of modern day
Media and the way it affects us all. This really works well live.

“Deep And Meaningless” - It could change your life, it could
take you nowhere, it could make you think if there’s space in your
head. (Along the same lines as ‘Stupid’)

“Strange Attraction” - See “Karaoke Ballet”.

“Maybe You Know” - Sorry , no explanation for this song. Maybe some
of your readers could explain it to me?

“Happy? (‘Dumka)” - Here they all are, all my favourite things
gathered together in one convenient package for your listening
pleasure ! The equivalent of ‘These Are a Few of My Favourite Things’
for the slacker generation.

4. What have been the most memorable gigs and why?

There have been so many over the years, it’s difficult to say. I remember enjoying playing The Phoenix festival some years ago, and supporting Alanis Morrissette was a lot of fun.

5. You are touring soon with former Wildhearts band mate Ginger. What do you
remember most from your time in the Wildhearts?

Mostly I remember continually having to ask myself why I was doing it. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all pain and disaster, and Ginger and I got along just fine, as we always have, but there were so many internal frictions within the band, that on a day to day basis it was mostly dull and irritating. Plus I hate playing just keyboards. Fine in the studio but live, it’s not particularly inspiring.

6. Are there any plans for yourself and Ginger to work together again in the
near future? (In an ideal world it would be a reformed Jellyfish featuring
yourself & Ginger!)

We talked about it a lot on the acoustic tour that we recently did together. I think as time goes by it becomes more likely.

7. Do you ever get frustrated that your music doesn’t get the wider exposure
it deserves? Has the Internet helped you get wider exposure seeing as
mainstream radio seems to top 40 play listed and set in its ways?

It used to years ago. These days I think I’m rather more accepting of it. Besides, I’ve wasted so much time contemplating the various injustices that go on in the world and that I am powerless to do anything about. And in the grand scheme of things, whether one of my poxy songs gets played on the radio or not is hardly at the top of the pile of the things that must be rectified.

8. Read any good books lately?

Just re-read the Kenneth Williams diaries. Poor, sad, lonely little man. The more I have worked in music and now television and film, the more I see that most so called ‘artists’ are not the visionaries and deities we sometimes assume they are. They are fumbling awkward teenagers, trapped in a perpetual adolescence, screaming for attention and love. And the louder they scream, the more we applaud.

9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I guess it would have to be masturbation and I do have a hell of a lot of spare time, so if I say so myself....I’m pretty good at it.

10. Message to your fans...

Please stop writing ‘wanker’ on my front door, I just had it painted you bastards. Instead, why not seek out & enjoy good music. Enjoy Jackdaw 4 - we make good music.

Friday, August 26, 2005

10 Q's with DOUBLE CROSS

Double Cross released their debut album via TB Records to very
favourable reviews. They supported Styx on the latter's European
tour this summer and of course appear at this year's Melodic Rock
Xmas Bash. Over to Pete Lakin...


1. What are you currently up to? (E.g. touring/studio, etc.)

DC are currently working on our second album. As yet untitled, we
hope to have the demos wound up pretty shortly & then into the
studio for recording...it's been a long process as we've had a busy
year so far with various tours etc in promotion for the debut
album "Time after Time".

2. You're appearing at the MRX festival on 4th December. What sort
of set are you planning?

We'll be playing for an hour so you'll get 9 or 10 tracks from the
debut plus some new material thrown in for good measure. We are
developing these new tracks as we go along in the live format, one
of which has already been "aired" a couple of times this year at
various gigs....& to a great response I might add. We've played
various set lengths this year with anything from 30 mins to just
over an hour so we've got the running orders down to a fine art.

We also have a few gigs lined up during November taking on the
annual 'KISS Expo' held @ Rock City (19th Nov) & the 'FiresFest' Pre-
show party (25th Nov) in which we hope to give a final push towards
promotion for the Melodic Rock Xmas Bash in December.

3. How do you view the current melodic rock music scene,
particularly in the UK? Has there been an upswing in interest
following Firefest and bands like Styx & Kansas finally making it
over to the UK?

I think with the bands mentioned & the Firefest as an example it
does make you very much aware that there are more people out there
interested in all things melodic than the statutory 200 or so people
that normally frequent a venue when a Stateside band comes to the
UK. On the Styx tour they must have played infront of about 10,000
people over the 6 dates here in the UK, naturally the die-hards will
make more than one show but it shows you that the audience for this
kinda thing is a little healthier than most people might imagine.
The Firefest is a great example of bringing the "scene" together for
one particular event. There are still UK bands out there pulling in
decent numbers on there own. (Quo, Thunder etc...) In the days of
major label ignorance though, I think the scene is about as healthy
as it's gonna get unless somehow this kinda thing becomes
fashionable again.

4. How did the tour with Styx go? How did you get the tour support?

The Styx tour was a fantastic opportunity for us, we played infront
of some big audiences & were there to warm up the crowd for the
headliners. All in all it was a major success for us judging by the
crowd reactions, aftershow comments & merchandise sales, all of
which were all pretty healthy to say the least. Styx were truly
awesome in every sense of the word, their songs, performance, sound
& entourage were immense to put it mildly. They were very
accommodating towards us, both band & crew and we have the utmost
respect for each & every one of them.

The support came about through somebody having faith in us & putting
our name forward for the gig. We were in the running favourably for
about 5 weeks prior to the tour along with 2 other acts. With just
over a week to go the support band was announced & it wasn't DC.
Styx are a self sufficient band with several juggernaut lorries
carrying gear & 2 tour buses to house the band & crew etc, they have
all the sound, lighting & pretty much everything catered for,
therefore they expect any support band to be as self sufficient.
Herein lied the problem I think with the support band chosen, &
after jumping ship, we were given the opportunity to take up the
baton with 48 hours notice. We had to supply our own on stage desk &
monitoring, front of house mixing desk, & 2 sound engineers to
monitor them both. A mighty task at such short notice but with all
the will in the world & a chance to share a stage with a legendary
act, we set the wheels in motion & were there in full force on the
opening night.

5. Where does the band get their songwriting ideas from and who
musically is an influence on you all?

The band has various influences to draw upon. Myself & Rick
(vocalist) are pretty much influenced by the mainstream artists
of "back in the day" when melodic rock ruled the airwaves. Leppard,
Journey & Queen spring to mind. Guitarist Steve is influenced by the
likes of Dokken, Y&T , Maiden etc & Bassist "Gaf" as a 90's child
brought up on a diet of Faith No More, Chillies & Nirvana to name a
few. Skinsman "Gripper" has a varied & eclectic range of styles
covering Rock, Pop & a touch of Ska to his credits. The songs are
mainly devised around the nucleus of Myself, Steve & Rick, whereby
Steve & myself will record instrumental demos & forward them to Rick
for vocal ideas & vice versa. The other guys come into their own
when flushing out the tracks when trying them out in the live
format. Songs can then evolve & progress within the band before
being recorded..

6. Which song(s) do you think best sum-up what Double Cross are all
about and why?

It's hard to speak for all the lads when pinning down a track that
sums DC up in a nutshell. From my own perspective their are
favourites on the album & then there are favourites Live which may
or may not be the same. The title track of our debut 'Time After
Time' is one such track which has become a great track to play live.
It has all the energy of what we are about & has developed its own
areas within the song that are screaming out for audience
participation. We tried this on the Styx tour & had the crowds with
us every night! 'Reach Out' has been a good track for us also has it
has opened pretty much every show we have put on this year. It has
the kind of intro that I think are a welcome addition to any bands
set to introduce you properly. It's not until after the first song
you'll get a word out of the frontman.....let the music do the

7. Any other bands/artists out there who have impressed you recently
and why?

Other than the bands we have toured with this year who ultimately we
have all become fans of,(Dokken, STYX & Danger Danger) it's very
hard these days to be impressed unless you are out there soaking it
all up with the paying public. For me personally bands like Alter
Bridge, Velvet Revolver have all impressed on the airwaves simply
down to the quality of the musicianship & songs involved. Impulse
buys based on current scene trends like Pride of Lions, Jeff Scott
Soto & SoulSirkus respectively have too impressed me immensely.
Having witnessed Soto live at the first Firefest this year I can't
emphasise enough that Jeff is a true talent....an awesome showman &
one in which I hope to witness again in the coming months touring
the UK. Generally though I'm more impressed by attitudes & there are
a lot of UK bands out there, whether label sponsored or not giving
it there all week in, week out.

8. What have been the most memorable gigs and why?

For me....the most memorable gig was Rock City on the recent Styx
tour. It was the opening night, the crowd were standing & the
atmosphere was just electric....these guys had waited a long time
for this. We took to the main stage & played for about an hour to an
unfamiliar crowd & they were chanting for more come the end of our
set! I finally felt like "we'd arrived". The Manchester show was
also a superb night for us, a capacity crowd that were enthusiastic
to say the least...based on the merchandise we shifted that night
was a testament as to how well we were received. The opening night
on the Dokken tour at the Underworld was a good night for us
also....again met with a similar reaction by the crowd. The audience
response feeds your performance & if they are with you....you try
your hardest not to let them go.

9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Mmmm, don't get a lot of that. With holding down a full-time job & a
young family at home & a band that requires as much input as a full-
time job, spare moments are few & far between...But at least 2 of
those are a joy to have fill out my time....the other pays the bills.

10. Message to your fans...

Double Cross would like to thank everybody who has shown their
support towards us whether it being buying the album or coming out
to our shows or indeed patiently awaiting the follow-up. Please keep
a check on progress via our website found @ www.doublecross.org.uk
& we'll see you on the road in the near future.

NAZARETH gig review

NAZARETH + BLACK #5 Islington Academy Bar, Thursday 25th August 2005

A re-arranged date and strangely moved to the smaller bar area rather than the main hall of the Academy. A good turn out and my first Nazareth gig – a band I have longed admired but never managed to see live until now. But first we have the excellent Black #5, whose debut album ‘Last Few Hours’ was one of the debuts of last year. Due to the small stage and large drum kit the vocalist was forced to sing in the crowd – can’t get more intimate than that! A few songs of the debut were aired including the rifftastic ‘This Petty Trial’ and ‘Down’. A few new numbers as well including one of almost ballad like pace! The set was marred by a broken drum pedal but they soldiered on and certainly impressed a few of the Nazareth fans. I can’t recommend this band highly enough as they have the tunes and talent, they just need that all important lucky break…

Between sets I was amused to hear one punter ask without a hint of irony, ‘Which is the house white wine?’ Rock ‘n’ roll! Nazareth took to the stage and played a blistering set of classic rockers including ‘Razzamanz’, ‘S.O.B’ , ‘Turn On Your Receiver’ and ‘Shanghaied In Shanghi’. But Nazareth also do ballads very well including ‘Hearts Grown Cold’, which saw guitarist Jimmy Murrison take the limelight and of course set closer ‘Love Hurts’. Encores included ‘This Flight Tonight’ and ‘Broken Down Angel’ – sheer classic rock class. Vocalist Dan McCafferty has lost none of his power and was very at ease between songs cracking jokes, mainly at his own expense. It’s great that Nazareth can still belt out the classics and long may they continue.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

PAUL LIDDELL album review

PAUL LIDDELL ‘A Lighthouse Keeper’s Diary’ Regulus (2005) Website

Paul Liddell has been quietly being building a large and growing following in his native north east of England. So much so that he has coach parties of fans following him to gigs! His latest album is a gem chock-full of acoustic guitar led numbers and delicate arrangements (using the maxim ‘less is more’).

Stand out track has to be the opener ‘Travelling Song’ with its acoustic guitar, heartfelt vocal and wonderful canon vocal fade out.

‘Runaway’ could easily make the daytime play list on BBC Radio 2 and have the masses snapping up the tune if it were a single (would leave David Gray in his dust!).

Paul Liddell adds various instruments to certain tracks including the brass accompaniment on ‘Hi-Rise’ and it makes the album have plenty of variety rather than just a singer/songwriter album full of acoustic guitar passages. Liddell has very clean and melodious vocal, which coupled with his knack of penning a thought-provoking lyric makes for a highly enjoyable and rewarding album.

10 Q's with PAUL LIDDELL

What are you currently up to?

At the moment I'm writing songs for inclusion on a future album (about 15 so far), and doing my usual amount of gigs all around the North East, occasionally coming further down South for isolated dates. I'm also busy rehearsing up new songs with my band, we start gigging the new stuff soon with a view to familiarising it before we start recording. It's a bit of a mixed bag, some fast, some slow, some heavy (ish), some acoustic. Should be interesting when it's done.

Your album 'A Lighthouse Keeper's Diary' came out earlier this year. What reaction did it get from the reviewers and fans?

The album has done well, better than I expected. It was an independent release, put out on my own label and distributed by Absolute. The reviews have been universally positive and It's had a bit of play one some radio stations. Peoples favourite tracks seem to be 'a quiet kind of madness' 'hi-rise' 'travelling song' and 'runaway', although I think that 'runaway' feels much better live than it does on the record. It's one of those tunes that you just can't catch in the studio.
I see you put the apostrophe in "'keeper's". No one has said anything, but it's missing from the album cover! I didn't like the way it looked with the apostrophe so I just left it out, fully expecting a barrage of abuse from the grammar police. Luckily it hasn't happened. People must be too polite, or not bothered alternatively.

Could you take us through the album and some personal highlights/stories behind the songs?

Yep! My favourites and a bit of background. "A quiet kind of madness" is broadly about paranoia. It is inspired by a specific incident, but I'd get in trouble if I told you. Sorry!

"Runaway" is one of my favourite tracks. The guitar part came about in the studio. I was practising for a solo gig, and the guitar was feeding back through the PA like a drone. I detuned it and started drumming on the guitar. The lyrics came straight after, I didn't have any paper to write them down, and consequently forgot the chorus line, only to remember it again days later whilst in a drunken stupor! Nice eh?

"Suburbia" is the song that usually makes girls cry and go and ring their Grandmas! I wrote the lyrics about the way older people are treated like second class citizens, as if they're no longer of any use. A once weekly visit from the family if you're lucky. Inspired by an incident in a post office where an old woman collapsed infront of me and nobody even moved to help her. I think growing old is a real bitch, I hope they bring out that immortality drug before I get there, I bet I'd be a really cantankerous old fella.

"Jail song" is a tale about a kid the same age as me who I've always known about, but never known personally. He was an air gun toting psycho. He went to jail. The end.

"A lighthouse keeper's diary". All I want to say about this one is that I'm not the Lighthouse keeper, and it's not as self pitying as it sounds!

How has the Internet helped spread the word about the band? Do you think downloading is helping or killing music?

My website has been enormously useful to me in terms of letting people know when and where I'm gigging, and collecting peoples email addresses so I can keep in touch with the people that like my music and keep them updated with what I'm doing. The downloads section of my site enables people that have heard of me to check out my stuff before they buy a CD or come to a gig. I also sell CDs through the site.

The wider issue of downloading music is more difficult. Part of me says that it is wrong for people to download entire albums and for the artist to get nothing. For a new artist, that isn't an issue because the word about you is being spread. I don't mind people being able to get a few of my songs for nothing, because if they like it, they could come to a gig or introduce more people to the music.

From the perspective of the record company, I think they deserve what is happening to them at the moment. The way it works now is that a band don't get time to develop. You get one single and if it doesn't go then you're gone. As a result, I think that a lot of music that comes out now is poor quality. A lot of people recognise this, and download tunes to try before they buy. If its crap, then you wont buy it. I find that now when an album comes out there are 2 or 3 songs that are good, and the rest is filler. Downloading lets people take the best bits, without having to pay for the 10 tracks of filler that seem to come with most albums. Should the labels be payed for the download of those 2 or 3 songs? Probably. But if they put more time and energy (and money) into letting a band find their feet rather than perpetuating the band conveyor belt that we have now, the quality of bands music would be higher and people would want to get whole albums, and maybe would still be going to the shops to buy them in the quantities that they used to. Wow that was a rant, sorry.

What bands/artists do you admire and/or are an influence?

Pearl Jam are my favourites along with Rage Against The Machine. Weird influences for acoustic music I know. I used to play heavy rock before I donned the woolly jumper of acoustic folky music. I also love Jeff Buckley, Smashing Pumpkins, The Wonder Stuff, Neil Young, Nick Drake, Counting Crows......

What has been the highlight(s) and lowpoint(s) of your career to date?

The highlight would probably be either the ALKD album launch (attended by about 500 people, massive on a local level) or the gig at the end of my tour earlier this year at a packed out local venue called the Smugglers.

Lowlights include playing to an audience of 3, being groped by a butch lesbian whilst singing, audiences of chavs throwing things, the list goes on...........

What's the most rock 'n' roll moment you have had so far?

As well as the usual hotel room shenanigans, rolling headfirst down a hill and landing 50 feet down on my head whilst tired and emotional after a gig was quite good. I've still got the scar, same place as Harry Potter's and everything!

What CD's do you currently have available and where can they be purchased from?

Two albums, "Sketchy Little People" (which is available by emailing from my website) and "a lighthouse keeper's diary" available from Amazon and a store near you.


HELLOWEEN CD single review

HELLOWEEN `Mrs. God' (CD single 2005) SPV Band website

Helloween are back with a new album, `Keeper Of The Seven Keys – The Legacy' due out the end of October and this is the first single lifted of that album. `Mrs. God' is a cracking slice of classic Helloween with plenty of time changes, tasty riffs, harmony filled chorus plus a quirky midsection featuring a bass solo and a sheep!
Vocalist Andi Deris in fine form. Defiantly a track that will suit airplay and the TV music channels like `Kerrang!' and `Scuzz'. Two other tracks on here are `The Ring For A 1,000 Years', featuring plenty of keyboards and `Run (The Name Of Your Enemy)' which is exclusive to this single release.

With a new label and what promises to be a fine album based on the two tracks on this single, Helloween looked poised show the newer bands like Dragonforce how classy power/speed metal should be done.


WALTHAM Rykodisc (2005) Waltham website

Waltham released this album under their own label and now it gets a big label release with added tunes.

If you like quality, power pop rock this is a MUST! Simple as that. They combine highly catchy melodies with power riffs and glorious harmonies – just listen to opener ‘Cheryl (Come And Take A Ride)’ for proof. If you like the Cars, Cheap Trick, Butch Walker, Bowling For Soup et al. Other stand outs include ‘Joanne’ (surely destined to be a single), ‘Be With Me’ (featuring a catchy synth effect) and ‘Hopeless’, something this band certainly aren’t.

Another secret of this album’s success is that Waltham successfully combine the classic 80’s sound of power/pop rock with a modern, header edged feel. Many bands try to meld classic and new style and fail, but this band carry it off in style.

Great to see this type of music alive and well, so what are you waiting for? Go and buy a copy now…


(This 10 Q's was conducted back in October 2003 for the Newswire and I thought I'd dig it out after the review of the band's 'Essential' collection below)

One of my favourate bands and a top notch guitarist, who also
appeared on the classic Mastedon albums (well worth a listen if you
enjoy melodic hard rock) and Richie Sambora's solo albums amongst
Full details at www.daveamato.com
Thanks to Ken McGee for transcribing Dave Amato's replies!

1. What are you currently up to? (E.g. touring/studio, etc.)

Buying guitars! That is one of my favorite activities. Lately I've
been leaning toward Beatle replica instruments and reissues.
Recently I have aquiered a second Hofner Beatle Bass, a George
Harrison style Gretch Duo Jet, a John Lennon Epiphone "Revolution"
Casino, and a Rickenbacker 325 12string like John Lennon had. I've
probably purchased another 10 guitars in the last six months. That
brings the collection to about 60 guitars.

For my birthday this past year, the band and management bought for me
a Martin Eric Clapton model acoustic guitar. It is amaizing! I also
bought the Eric Clapton model Fender Stratocaster.

2. What has been the highlight(s) and low point(s) of your career to

Highlight of my career has to be that I have been with REO Speedwagon
for 14 years now, and we are still going strong.

Low Point was in 2000 when the whole band got sick while touring. We
all had the flu. Close quarters on the tour bus probably contributed
to the outbreak. We were playing several shows a week with our
buddies, Styx when the tour had to be cut short by 3 shows because we
were just too sick to go one. After a break we were all well and
ready to go again, but that really brought us to our knees. We hated
to cancel anything, and we made up the shows on the next swing.

3. What was it like appearing along with Styx & Journey each night on
the Classic Rock Main Event tour? Any chance of a similar tour next

There is nothing better than playing to packed arena crowds night
after night. Three great bands like REO, Styx and Journey on one
bill pretty well insured that. Styx and REO have been touring
together for 3 years now and we are all great friends. Journey and I
go back many years, when I was in bands with Tane Cain (Johnathan
Cain's wife) and Muggs Cain, (Johnathan's brother).

Our management is working on the package for next year. I haven't
heard what it might be.

4. Will REO Speedwagon ever make it over to Europe ever again?

Maybe. REO hasn't been overseas in the last 14 years. Finding the
right package would be a challenge. There isn't anything like that in
the works.

5. Do you prefer the studio or the live environment? Any plans for a
solo album in the future?

I like both! Playing live I feed off of the electricity of the
audience There isn't anything better! I also like the creative
process of working in the studio.

As far as a solo album, my drummer buddy Ron Wikso and I have an
offer from an independent European record label to do recording, but
there just hasn't been time for that project.

I do work on side projects when REO is on break. I worked with
Richie Sambora on his solo album, and more recently with Gregg Rollie
on his "Roots" cd. Both are excellent recordings. Check out my own
website www.DaveAmato.com for details on my career.

6. What was the initial fans reaction when you took over from long-
time REO guitarist Gary Richrath?

It was tough at first, but I have felt right at home with REO for a
long time now.

7. Mastedon… They released two classic albums. You appeared on only
the first one? Do you know if there will ever be a another Mastedon
album at all?

I did two Mastadon albums. That was a long time ago, I don't think
there will be any more.

8. How did you first get into the music business? Who have been your
main influences on your career to date?

It seems like I have always been in the music business. I started
playing guitar in 1961. I've just always loved the guitar. Elvis
Presley was an early influence, but once the Beatles came out… that
was it. I was nuts about the Beatles, and still am. Other influences
through the years have been Jimi Hendrix, Richie Blackmore, Jeff
Beck, Jimmy Page, and Clapton too.

9. What do you do in your spare time outside of music?

My wife, Trish and I have quite a few pet cats. We care for them,
and also help strays when we can. We help them with a visit to the
vet to heal broken legs, cuts and scrapes, disease etc. We also spay
or neuter these cats to help control the pet population.

I enjoy playing golf too, when I'm not shopping for guitars.

10. Message to your fans...

Thanks for your support for REO, especially for sticking with us
through the changes in 1989. Keep coming out to see the shows, and
Keep Pushin'.

TAMRAH AERYN ‘Typical Girl’

TAMRAH AERYN ‘Typical Girl’ Massacre Records (2005) www.tamrah.net

Tamrah Aeryn is a singer/songwriter from the US who will delight fans of Kate Bush as her vocal phrasing and the backing arrangements are very similar to Kate Bush, although not direct copying. Of interest to rock fans as well is that Balance of Power’s drummer Lionel Hicks produced this album. The album has a crystal clear production with lots of vocal and harmony arrangements. Highlights are many but the title track and ‘Over You’ highlight her vocal range and the wonderful musical arrangements contained within the album. Along with Anna Nalick and Lyza Wilson this is easily one of my favourite female vocal albums of the year.

Tamrah is a real find, possessing a fine voice and has produced a very enjoyable debut album. As mentioned previously fans of Kate Bush will certainly enjoy the music on offer on here.

REO Speedwagon 'The Essential'

REO SPEEDWAGON ‘The Essential’ Legacy (2004) www.speedwagon.com

A double CD set containing 33 tracks from one of the US giants of AOR/melodic rock. It has never been trendy to like REO Speedwagon, certainly in the UK where the press wrongly dismiss them as a bland ballads band but hey what do the press know? The ballads in question are all on here including the truly awesome ‘Can’t Fight This Feeling’ and ‘Take It On The Run’. It also includes two of my favourite REO ballads ‘One Lonely Night’ and ‘In My Dreams’, both which see vocalist Kevin Cronin on top form. But the band knows how to rock out and guitarist Gary Richrath certainly laid down some smokin’ solos on the likes of ‘Roll With The Changes’ and ‘Say You Love Me Or Say Goodnight’. This collection covers all eras of the band right from the early days with vocalist Tery Lutrell right up to the ‘Ballads’ collection the band released a couple of years ago. There are informative sleeve notes penned by Kevin Cronin and all in all it is a pretty essential collection for fans of the band and those willing enough to ignore all the clichés surrounding this band.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

10 Q's with SACRED HEART

First up in a series of 10 Q's with the bands appearing at this year's Melodic Rokc Xmas Bash to be held at the legendary Ruskin Arms on Sunday December 4th. A fanatstic bill of UK hard rock bands and all for only £8! A further band is to be added to the line-up as well.
Over to Sacred Heart's drummer Claudio Cafolla and vocalist/guitarist Paul Stead...

1. What are you currently up to? (E.g. touring/studio, etc.)

Claudio Cafolla (CC): We've a pretty hectic live schedule to the end of 2005, including support slots for leading tributes; Deepest Purple and The Sabbath plus a number of headlining gigs, including Friday 26 August 2005 for a biker's rally in Cambridgeshire, and of course we're really looking forward to performing at the MRXB, our Christmas party if you like! See www.sacredheartband.com for full live listings.

Paul Stead (PS): We had a pretty quiet summer, with band members going on holiday etc, but schedule wise it's pretty hectic from now on. Another headline show we're looking forward to is at The White Room, Hull in September.

2. You're appearing at the MRX festival on 4th December. What sort of set are you planning?

CC: We've put together a set for the Autumn/Winter 2005 dates featuring a selection of tracks from "A New Dawn" and "Lay It On The Line" with the addition of a couple of new songs that we think will help blow the audience away! New bassist Darren Jhuboo has been sounding really good in rehearsal and the band are really looking forward to playing in our new formation.

PS: Darren had pretty much learnt the whole of "Lay It On The Line", and some of those songs we hadn't played for a while, so it was a kick up the backside for Claudio, Mark & I - he knew some of the tracks better than us!

3. How do you view the current melodic rock music scene, particularly in the UK? Has there been an upswing in interest following Firefest and bands like Styx & Kansas finally making it over to the UK?

CC: With the great reaction we've had from audiences, we're convinced that with the right publicity the melodic rock scene could garner a lot more interest. Styx and Kansas will be pulling in older fans but hopefully also bringing the sound to a wider audience. We need people like you guys to keep plugging away!

PS: I think we see the same bands come over a bit too regularly and the excitement, interest and crowds get smaller each time because of this. Promoters are milking the established names but only promoting on a small scale - this means it's only the same people that hear about this kind of thing. It genuinely seems like there's no-one out there doing anything to create a larger rock fanbase or increase the market by encouraging new people to check these bands out. I agree with Claudio, it takes people like GRTR! plugging away and finding a balance between supporting the old and establishing the new.

I think the mindset has changed with music fans too. There doesn't seem as much interest in new artists live as there was 10 years ago.
Granted, not as many venues doing their bit - but even when they do, they often struggle to get the numbers.

4. You released your debut album, ˜Lay It On The Line" just over a year ago. How has the reaction been so far both reviews and fan wise?

CC: Reviews have so far been very positive, and the more people that we get to listen to the album, the better the feedback seems to be.

5. Where does the band get their songwriting ideas from and who musically is an influence on you all?

CC: Paul and Mark will bring ideas to rehearsals, both parts of songs and the structure of songs. The band will then discuss the ideas, play them through and adjust as appropriate. Bands like Europe and Warrant will influence the type of songs we play, but each has its own individuality and character. Each member of the band has different influences and styles to bring to the songs to make them "Sacred Heart" songs.

PS: Whenever their is a basic idea - or even a completed song for that matter - brought to the table, everyone is given the opportunity to stamp their unique style on it.

6. Which song(s) do you think best sum-up what Sacred Heart are all about and why?

CC: I think every "Sacred Heart" song contributes. Newer songs like "Shake" and "Perfect" define our evolving sound, but older songs like "Carry On" and "Crazy World" are sounding better than ever.

PS: I totally agree. Now, more than ever, Claudio is instilling his style on the songs, especially the newer ones. His influences stem further back than the rest of us and we're finding a really nice balance between the 70's rock/metal that got him interested in the first place and the hard rock of the mid - late 80's that got the rest of hooked.

7. Any other bands/artists out there who have impressed you recently and why?

CC: Tony Iommi and Glenn Hughes in producing a classic rock album that still sounds modern. Also bands like Alter Bridge and Audioslave who are working very hard to promote rock to as wide an audience as possible.

PS: "Welcome Home" by "Coheed & Cambria" - superb, and having just heard the new Bon-Jovi single "Have A Nice Day", I have high hopes for their new album.

8. What have been the most memorable gigs and why?

CC: The Stripes gig on 12 August 2005 was memorable in that the whole band was in the zone and we had great positive audience feedback. It showed the band are getting tighter and tighter and we all really enjoyed the feeling of playing well together in front of the audience. There was also our support slot for Kee Marcello at the Camden Underworld where we played a blinder and had a good laugh too. Also, playing at the Celtic Warriors last year to a huge hall of people was a great buzz!

PS: Yeah, Stripes was wicked, dude - the crowd were excellent! K2 at the Underworld was rocking too.

9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

CC: Playing drums!

PS: City breaks, chillin' out, Cinema, eating out and the company of good friends. Writing songs, all the usual really.

10. Message to your fans...

CC: Thanks for all the support!

PS: Please join us, "Pride", "Lost Weekend", "Double Cross", "The Dregs" & "Escape" on Sunday 4th December for our Melodic Rock Christmas Bash at Ruskin Arms, London - it's gonna be one hell of a party!!! Full details & mini-site at www.sacredheartband.com

Cheers to Jason & all at GRTR! for their continued support, and many thanks to YOU!

Come on Stoke!

After a startling win on Saturday over early league leaders Luton Town we face Mansfield Town in the Carling Cup tonight (the old League Cup). Johan Boskamp, the new Stoke amanger, is very keen on cup competitions so much so he is fielding a near first team tonight when previously we would field reserves and youngsters. Be interesting to see how this works out.

Then on Saturday it is Crystal Palace away and hopefully I will go along and see the boys in action. Looking forward to seeing the new players like Kolar, Hoefkens & Big Mama in action.

Monday, August 22, 2005

MARTY DODGE - songwriter & avid blogger

1 What have you been up to so far this year and wehat have you planned for the next few months?

We are working along on our debut album 'By the Grace of...' We did our second and final all day session in Bracknell at Park Studios. We recorded 'Searching' and 'Cry Freedom'. While not planned, Paul Stead of Sacred Heart. Mitch was looking after his voice as he is recording his own album so we drafted in Paul to sing. Mitch's CD will be out in September followed by a tour. Not only did he sing the chorus of 'Searching' he interpreted it in his own style. His style influenced John. In the end they both produced their individual best ever track. John & I sang 'Cry Freedom' as well. I managed to hit notes that John thought I was incapable of hitting. It was my 'Shine'. PO, over from Norway, to lay down some riffs for us put in an absolute blinder of a performance as did Mitch. John was his normal musical genius, coming up with music on the fly at an alarming rate and last but certainly not least Rob laid down some killer bass riffs. We hope to have the CD done and dusted ready for release by early October aiming to have a CD launch in mid to late October.

2 Best live gig(s) this year & why? (Can be your own gigs and/or other bands)

I thought the 30th Aniv Motorhead gig was pretty impressive, as were Sacred Heart a few weeks ago (tight as all get up), Slunt in London and Suffragettes. The Answer were damn impressive live (even in a rubbish venue) as were the impressive Tokyo Dragons. (Forget Towers of London see TD instead far better live.)

3 New msuic/books/films you've discovered/bought this year and why are they so good?

I rather liked Funding Evil a book about how terrorism is funded around the world. A good book on a more Rock & Roll theme is a book about the Whiskey A Go-Go in LA. Team America: World Police was the funniest damn movie I have seen in a long time. A couple of bands I have heard recently that blew me away are The Answer and Sacred Heart.

Interview with MARK BILLINGHAM

Mark Billingham is a very accomplished crime writer and one who certainly mines the dark side of the human psyche. His new book 'Lifeless' is just published and this , along with 'Sleepyhead' are a good introduction to his work.

More at -

1. What are you currently up to?

I’m just finishing off my next novel which is called BURIED and will be out next year. Then I have some odd projects to work on for a while including a sitcom and maybe even a kids book. Then I have to get to work on the next Thorne novel which is starting to take shape in my head. It may not finish up that way of course....

2. You new book, 'Lifeless' gives a very in depth view of London's homeless as the book's main backdrop. How did you resercah this and do you use your books to get personal mesages across to readers and.or highlight issues?

I’m not issue-led. I think that’s the kiss of death to a good story which is basically what I’m trying to write. There WERE certain things I was keen to get across though so yes, I had to do a fair bit of research. I worked with a brilliant organisation called Connection at St martin’s who took me out on overnight outreach shifts and so on. I got to see the hidden side of that world which most of us never see. It was a real eye-opener and I wanted to put some of that across in the book.

3. How do you view the current crime writing scene? Is there a move towards much more graphic, dark crime writing like John Connor, Ian Rankin and yourself?

Yes, the stuff is getting darker but only as a reflection of the world we live in. It’s not conscious I don’t think.

4. Did you ever envisage the success you have had so far? What have been the highlight(s) so far?

Winning the Theakston’s Old Peculier Award for crime novel of the year a few weeks back was a definite highlight. It’s an award which is voted for by readers so that’s a really nice thing to win. The fact that the books are getting this sort of reward as well as doing well in the charts is really more than I ever dreamt of. That...and getting to hang out with writers who up toa few years ago were heroes. That’s a major buzz/

5. Like many characters in crime novels Thorne enjoys music. Do you add your own musical tastes and albums you enjoy into your books?

Oh for sure. I can’t be arsed researching EVERYTHING, so if Thorne is at home listening to music or in the car or whatever, chances are he’s listening to whatever I’m listening to. His tastes in country music were a bit conservative to start with but I’m getting him into the alt.country end of the spectrum more and more.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Reading mostly, but sadly I don’t have as much time as I used to. Going to the movies when I can and playing poker.

7. If (and hopefully when!) any of your novels are televised/made into a film who ideally would you like cast as the main characters and why?

I would love an actor called David Morrissey to play Thorne, and I also have a vision of Eddie Izzard or Bill Bailey as Phil Hendricks,. Why I’m thinking of comedians O really don;t know...

8. Do you enjoy the specialist crime conventions/events and which ones do you most look forward to and why?

Yes, they’re great. I’m off to Bouchercon (the world mystery convention) in Chicago next week and I can’t wait. It’s a chance to catch up with old mates and drink a lot and talk about crime fiction. What more do you want. The festival at Harrogate every year has become my favourite and next year I’m lucky enough to be programming it myself. Basically I just asked all my friends. It should be great...

9. What made you want to go from a stand up comedian into a full time writer? And was crime writing always your first choice or is this how your writing developed oncce you started writing?

It was accidental really. I’ve always written and I’ve always loved crime fiction but it seemed such a long way away from comedy which seemed to be what I was destined to spend the rest of my life doing. Then I realised that it wasn’t such a big jump. It’s all about using words to create effect. The punchlines in the books are just darker, that’s all. Now I can’t envisage writing anything other than crime fiction. There is a certain amount of snobbery but I don’t care. I’m proud to be a crime writer.

10. Message to your readers...

Thanks to all those who’ve supported me and bought the books from the beginning. I hope you continue to enjoy the Tom Thorne books. I can promise that Tom will go in some interesting directions...

Interview with GRAHAM HURLEY

Graham Hurley is the author of the highly readable DI Jo Faraday novels set in and around Portsmouth in the UK. They pull no punches and deal with many current and topical issues. I would personally recommend reading 'Cut To Black' and his new novel, 'Blood And Honey' (published in January 2006) as good starting points.

More at -


What am I currently up to?

The summer is a fallow period for yours truly. We live by the sea. We swim a great deal. Sail. Windsurf. Idle around. And in between ladling on the Factor 15, I get to think about the next book (number seven in the Joe Faraday series). The working title is One Under. I have the opening scene already written, a shape for the narrative, and a broad fix on where this next fictional rocket may land. The detailed research is done but before I get down to the hard graft we're taking off in the camper to France. To my astonishment, the books are doing really well there. The French seem to have a taste for inner-city anarchy, and the efforts of guys like Faraday to try and light a candle or two in the gathering darkness. In fact they appear to have taken Joe to their collective hearts. Grace a Dieu.

You new book, 'Blood & Honey' has the Bosnian conflict and its aftermath many years later as its main backdrop. How did you resercah this and do you use your books to get personal mesages across to readers and.or highlight issues important to yourself?

You're absolutely right about the Bosnian conflict and it's aftermath with respect to Blood and Honey. It's an important narrative engine for the book, drives key parts of the plot, and kept my own pot nicely bubbling on the stove while I was writing. A while back, in another career, I made a number of TV documentaries exploring the ever-lengthening shadows cast by long-ago conflicts, and conversations with veterans from the Second World War, from various campaigns in the Fifties and Sixtties, and - more recently - from the Falklands War, taught me a great deal. Living in Portsmouth - a city literally built on blood and treasure - gave me more food for fictional thought, and a lot of this stuff has seeped into my fiction. Both in terms of stand-alone thrillers, and now the Faraday series. Smuggling personal messsages into fiction is an extremely dodgy business. The last thing a reader wants is 400 pages of homily. At the same time, though, writing of this length is bound to absorb - seamlessly, I hope - some sense of where the writer stands. So, yes, I plead guilty - consciously or otherwise - in dreaming up situations that put my characters to particular kinds of tests. And the way they do (or don't) perform, often has a direct bearing on issues - and personal qualities - which matter to me. Think fortitude. And a sense of wry amusement.

How do you view the current crime writing scene? Is there a move towards much more graphic, dark crime writing like Ian Rankin, Mark Billingham and yourself?

Wisely or otherwise, I don't actually read much crime fiction. Getting into this genre was Orion's idea, not mine, and at first the challenge felt incredibly daunting. At that point, I wondered whether a couple of months reading other people's work might help but in the end I spent the time getting alongside working detectives. This wasn't easy but in the end I cracked it big time, and along with that kind of immersion came the (I guess inevitable) decision to make the books as authentic as possible. This gives you a problem of two, not least because the bulk of crime fighting (like war) is repetitive and deeply boring. But I sense that a determination to try and conjure on-the-page drama from the minor key - instead of an annual parade of serial killers - has paid off. The books have a growing and incredibly loyal readership, and a condition of their enthusiasm appears to be the grittiness, the realism, that underpins both character and plot. Of course I've picked up other books in the field from time to time. I think Dan Fesperman is brilliant - especially his first novel Lie in the Dark - and I admire David Peace for what he's doing with the genre. I also love the work of Alan Furst. But in other cases I sometimes wonder exactly how much time authors have spent at the coal face. All fiction is an act of trespass. So it pays to find out about the lie of the land.

Did you ever envisage the success you have had so far? What have been the highlight(s) so far?

Success is a strange term. Everything in life is relative and in my business I suspect you're never really satisfied with your sales figures or the putative size of the readership. The fact that I seem to have made a niche within a niche - see above - makes me very happy, but the actual business of conceiving and writing the books makes me happier still. To steal a phrase from my good friend Campbell Armstrong, every new start is a journey into the unexpected. And not too many jobs offer you that.

Like many characters in crime novels Jo Faraday enjoys music. Do you add your own musical tastes and albums you enjoy into your books? What music could be found on your MP3/CD player now?

Music is important to Joe Faraday, and important to me. Most contemporary stuff leaves me cold. My vinyl collection is full of Dylan, Dory Previn, Nina Simone, John Martin, Van Morrison, but the music that really matters comes from the classical end of the spectrum. I love - not necessarily in this order - Haydn, Mozart, Brahms, Mahler, Berlioz, Stravinsky. My favourite movement in most symphonies would be the adagio, and I think certain passages of Thaikovsky and Prokoviev are sublime. So there's a clue (or two).

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

We travel as much as possible, as often as possible. Writing occupies maybe four months a year, and the rest of the time - when we're not away - I do oodles of reading, mainly biography and history. Summer, as I said at the start, gives me the chance to get out on the water. I also adore cooking, and we spend a great deal of time hunting down quality stuff for the pot. Nothing beats a hefty six'o'clock gin with the sun in the west and a Thai green curry bubbling on the stove. Even the cat gets excited.

If (and hopefully when!) any of your novels are televised/made into a film who ideally would you like cast as the main characters and why?

I've come close on a couple of occasions to a TV adaptation of the Faraday series. I've done screenplays on previous books, and watched actors tussle with lives I've put on the page. Both experiences, oddly enough, fill me with gloom - chiefly because TV is such a different, and often brutal medium - but also because the choice of actor to play the central character can go so disastrously wrong. I have a very clear idea of who Joe Faraday is. And so far, maybe because we watch so little TV, I can't think of an actor who would fit.

Do you enjoy the specialist crime conventions/events and which ones do you most look forward to and why?

Sorry to disappoint again but I go to very few crime conventions. While it's interesting to compare notes I get the sense - certainly in my own case - that writing is necessarily a solitary business, and it helps to wall off that bit of your life. On the other hand, I get a lot of invitations to talk to reader groups, library gatherings, and some of the bigger writing conferences and I enjoy those a great deal. Favourite? The Southern Writer's Conference at Winchester. Barbara Large, who conceived and grew it, is a star.

Do you plan to stick with Faraday as a charcter in your future books for now or are you tempted to write a novel away from Faraday and the Portsmouth area? For someone going to visist Portsmouth what areas would you recommend as a 'must see'?

Interesting question. At the current sales level, according to my publisher, he's certainly worth another three books. The longer I live with these characters - not just Joe - the more I understand them. And the more I understand them, the more committed the writing becomes. Just now, I'd find it hard to live without the beckoning finger of the next book, so I have every interest in Joe's survival. Any writer's dream is a bigger and bigger readership, and I obviously hope that happens, but in my guts I think the books have something important to say about the way we live, and for that reason alone I'm happy to stick fictionally to Portsmouth. It's an extraordinary city for the working novelist. Would it offer other fictional opportunities? Undoubtedly.

Message to my readers...

God bless you.

......Graham Hurley.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

POWER QUEST 'Magic Never Dies'

POWER QUEST 'Magic Never Dies' Majestic Rock (2005)

One of my personal favourite new bands of the past few years return with album number three, which also marks a new label for the band after leaving Now & Then.

Power Quest, if you have never heard anything by them (and if not, why not?) play classic power metal but with a healthy dose of progressive music and even AOR at times.

Opener ‘Ascension’ will have pomp rock fans in ecstasy with its symphonic keyboards and military snare backbeat. ‘Find My Heaven’ fairly rips out of the speakers and is a classic power metal anthem that this band do so well.

What I like about this band though is that its not all double speed drumming and super fast guitar solos but they can throw in the odd curve ball into the mix.

Take ‘Hold On To Love’ that builds nicely up to the chorus and features neat keyboard and guitar interplay. The one song on here that could open up a whole new audience is ‘Children Of The Dream’. It will easily appeal to melodic rock fans with a catchy riff and chorus – definitely a tune for airplay. Only a couple of songs miss the mark for me but that said even an average Power Quest song blasts lesser bands out of the water!

Power Quest deliver the goods again and then some. Key for the band will be breaking out of the power metal niche and gaining a wider metal/rock audience and with tunes like ‘Children Of The Dream’ they may just do that with this release.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Rising Stars - SEASON'S END

(Old interview from 2004 but one that never made GRTR! A great band and catch them at this year's Bloodstock festival)

Season's End are a UK based gothic metal band whose debut album, 'The
Failing Light' met with great reviews including Kerrang! - not
normally known for its love of goth metal. Over to vocalist Becki...

What are you currently up to? (E.g. touring/studio, etc.)

We are currently on a writing break, due to two band members having
degree finals this month! We are taking the opportunity to write
material for our next album. We will be touring the UK to
promote 'The Failing Light' in August, the culmination of which will
be the Bloodstock festival in Derby in September. Details of all our
live dates can be found on our website.

Who was/is are the biggest influences on your career?

All of us come from very different musical backgrounds, so its hard
to name one or two bands or people who've influenced us most. I think
its the diversity of our musical interests that gives Season's End
its unique sound.

Brief history of your work to date and the style of music you play.

We are a UK Gothic Metal band. We have been around for a few years
and released our debut album in November.

What has been the highlight(s) and lowpoint(s) of your career to

A definite highlight was playing Whitby Gothic Festival in November
2002. Its great to play gigs where the atmosphere is positive.
Onstage, you really feed off the crowd, so if you see people out
there having a good time, it makes the music even more intense and

What would Season's End like to achieve ideally by the end of 2004?

Hopefully wider recognition across the UK metal scene, and branching
out into Europe.

How have the reviews to your debut album, 'The Failing Light' been so

All the reviews so far have been really positive. Kerrang - kkkk -
"The Failing Light is a truly awesome record".

How did you land a spot on the Bloodstock bill and anything special
planned for the gig?

We sent the organiser a copy of the album, and he was impressed
enough to offer us the headline for the 'Femme Fatales' Stage on the
Friday. As for the show, hopefully people will come along and see for

What has been the live highlight(s) for the band? How easy/hard is it
to get gigs and promotion for gigs?

It is pretty hard to get bookings for gigs across the UK. Although
locally you make connections, its much harder to tour. The main
struggle is getting people to see a band they haven't previously
heard of. Also, its difficult not to get pigeon-holed. We want to
play to anyone who wants to listen, irrelevant of whether they are
goths or metal-fans. I think there is enough in our music to appeal
to both crowds. Good support slots are pretty hard to come by if you
don't know the right people. I've known some promoters who stick the
same bands on gig after gig, whether or not they fit with the
headlining group. It seems to be who you know, rather than what you
sound like, which is a shame as there are some really good, but
unknown bands out there.

Do you see the interest in rock & metal music growing in the UK at
the moment? What bands do you admire and/or are an influence?

There has been a huge surge in the nu-metal scene in the last few
years. Although we are a lot less mainstream than that stuff, its
really encouraging to see that there is an interest in the sort of
music we are playing. I rememeber about 5 years ago there was nothing
on tv or radio with a guitar and drum-kit other than light, middle-of-
the-road indie bands. There is still a pretty big gap between the
stuff thats in the charts and the music we play though. Most of those
bands have been heavily influenced by the American rap scene, which
is nothing like our music.

What CD's do you currently have available and where can they be
purchased from?

Our debut album'The Failing Light', is available online via our
website www.seasons-end.com, and in selected record stores, along
with t-shirts and other merchandise.

Message to your fans...

Thanks to everyone who has supported us so far. We look forward to
seeing you all at our gigs in August.

ELO ‘The Very Best Of’

ELO ‘The Very Best Of’ Legacy (2005) www.legacyrecordings.com

Let’s face it ELO have never been trendy and were always slated inmost reviews you read. But hey someone must like them as they have had countless top 20 hit singles and multi-platinum albums. Also this latest ‘Best Of’ debuted in the UK charts at number 5 on its release. Me? I love the band and have done for over twenty-seven odd years now when I first heard ‘Wild West Hero’. So what if the music is OTT and pompous – bring it on and Jeff Lynne composed tunes that were destined to stay in your head for weeks after first hearing them.

Twenty tracks on here including ‘Mr Blue Sky’ (just how good is this tune?), ‘Hold On Tight’, ‘Ma Ma Ma Belle’ and ‘Shine A Little Love’ to pick just a few personal favourites out. For ELO fans there is a hook in that there is a re-recorded version of ‘Xanadu’, this time minus Olivia Newton John’s vocals. It makes for a less OTT version as the high harmonies have gone as well and not too sure if I like it but it’s a minor quibble. A few notable absentees in shape of the band’s last hit ‘Calling America’ and ‘Ticket To The Moon’ but hey you can’t knock the quality that is on here.

If you’ve got no ELO at all in your collection (and shame on you if you haven’t) this is a perfect compilation to buy.

Friday, August 19, 2005


Luckily Majestic Rock have seen the missed potential in CRY HAVOC and re-reelase the band's debut album with added tracks this autumn. Even better news is there is a new album in the works!

1. What are you currently up to? (E.g. touring/studio, etc.)

We are currently putting the finishing touches to the demos for our second album, which will be called "Caught In A Lie". Stevie (A. Durrand - Lead Vocals) just finished vocals on "Crying In The Rain", an
acoustic ballad in the studio yesterday. We have around 14-15 songs to choose from.

We have been offered a tour for the tail end of Autumn 2005, with a name band. We are currently negotiating the terms and what dates we can do, as we all have full time jobs.

The 19th of September will see the re-release of our debut album on Majestic Rock in Europe and for the first time in Japan on 28th September - repackaged, re-mastered and re-titled "Refuel".

2. How did Cry Havoc hook-up with Majestic Rock? What tracks will make up ‘Refuel’?

We sent a bunch of emails out to labels regarding our new record, which we are demoing, and Majestic came back. They were
really keen from the outset to re-issue "Fuel That Feeds The Fire" and give it the promotion that they felt it badly deserved.
Who am I to argue ?

Both the European and Japanese versions will consist of a double CD - the first disc will be the re-mastered version of "Fuel That Feeds The Fire",
with the Japanese release containing an unreleased bonus track "All Too Much At Once".

The second disc will feature our live set from The Cathouse (Glasgow) when we supported Brit Rockers SKIN in 1997. Some of the live versions are different to the ones on the album, as we didn't start
recording the record until later that summer. There is also an unreleased track in the set called "Heartland" which never made the album.This was arguably our best ever gig in Glasgow, due to the fact SKIN
pulled great crowds and we went down a storm.

We tried to build on the success of the show by booking our own gig their with Lost Weekend and The Promise for later that year, but it fell through due to the venues insistence that each band pays £75
and they wanted an unknown Indie band on the bill - some mob called TRAVIS! We told em' where to go!

3. Cry Havoc were signed with Chavis but they went under. Did you ever consider releasing the album independently given the label hassles the band have had down the years?

Yes we did! In fact, our debut was actually always intended to be an independent release. We recorded it out of our own pocket, so when reviewers talk about the production or the
budget we've always said "What budget"! Now & Then had nothing to do with financing the record, only the mixing of it, which was done at Spellbound Studios.

After five years on the label and Mark Ashton's reluctance to release the album we asked to be released from our contract, and with some persuasion Mark eventualy gave us his blessing to go with our album.
We contemplated an independent release but we could never afford the promotion required - enter Bill Chavis!

Now a lot of negative press has been banded around about this guy, but the truth is - he promised and he delivered on all fronts for this band! No complaints! OK, granted things could have
been done better, but Bill and I talk to this day, and we both know we could have done things differently! Glad to see he's back! He's a good guy and I hope he enjoys a little more luck.

4. What direction will the new material take and any tour plans in the pipeline?

The new material is very much Cry Havoc! It's even bigger riffs, soaring vocals, multi-layered harmonies, pumping bass, big drums and a guitar sound that pins you to the wall!!!
I'd like to think we've taken the key elements from the debut and moved it up a gear or two. In fact Brian McGowan of Hard Roxx heard them years ago, some songs exist from the five
year period on N&T where Mark told us to write a new album and combine these songs with the ones on "Fuel ...", and he said "The first album sounds like you're new kids on
the block trying to sound like seasoned pro's. The new songs sound like you've succeeded!".

We are also producing the record ourselves in Stevie's home studio. We are sick of trying to tell people how we want our music to sound, so we've pretty much went out and
learned how to do it. None moreso than Stevie who is a fabulous Rock producer and on the rise as one of Glasgow's finest sound engineers! He has a real thirst for knowledge in
the field of sound technology!

Tour plans will depend on the success of "Caught In a Lie" and to a lesser extent "Refuel".

5. Do you think the past few years have seen a change in the rock scene with there being more venues to play and more people coming along to gigs?
Or is it only really viable to tour the UK if you are a ‘name’ band like the US bands from the 80’s?

There's been a change in the sense that more bands have toured over the last couple of years than I can remember for a long time! It was great to evetually get see bands like
Europe, Styx and The Scorpions back on these shores!

However, in terms of gigs for ourselves, there was no scene in the late 90's in Glasgow for our music and it is even worse now. Despite having a reputation for having one of the
finest live circuits in the UK, Glasgow just isn't interested in Rock Music - full stop! This also covers the local radio stations and newspapers.

Sure, you can get gigs if you are prepared to pay the venue! Hence the reasons why some of Cry Havoc moved into the tribute scene.

You need to be able to pull crowds if you want to gig and you need a following to be able to tour. How can a band like Cry Havoc sustain either when venues won't book us, or labels
we've been signed to in the past don't promote us. I never did a single interview for a magazine after "Fuel That Feeds The Fire" was released, I mean come on, where is the logic in

I can't see this band gigging unless it was supporting someone big or at something like Firefest - if the terms were right for us!

6. Where do you get your songwriting ideas from and who musically is an influence on you?

Either just by sitting down with a guitar or bass, singing a melody, a beat in my head or hearing a song that I'd to write something like! Lyrically I write about things from my own
perspective - mainly feelings, observations, true stories or in some cases about books I have read.

Musical influences - Queensryche, Pink Cream 69, Dokken / Lynch Mob / George Lynch, Scorpions, Tesla, Winger, Dan Huff, Mark Spiro, Mitch Malloy, Journey.

7. What have been the most memorable gigs and why?

Supporting SKIN at The Cathouse in Glasgow - I was a huge fan of them and to support them at the tip of their career was awesome. It was packed and we went down so well with their audience!

The Gods 1999 - under our temporary monicker of AGE OF REASON. We didn't play too badly and opened the two day event, but it wasn't really busy at that time. No-one knew us! I remember
Bruce Mee asking who operated our sampled backing vocals - "we sung live we told him" - he said "You're kidding ?". We took that as a big compliment! We later appeared further up the bill the
next night as Johnny Lima's band and were part of something truly special - a great gig!

One for all the wrong reason, but it's funny now ...

Stonehaven - In the late 90's we signed to a Glasgow based Management agency and they booked us a "sold out show" at a huge place just outside Aberdeen. We got the royal treatment - hotel, 4 course meal
and were well paid. We went onstage and not one single person came to the gig. We played a two hour set in front of two bar people, took the dough and sacked the manager. Our roadies also lifted a leather
settee from the hotel foyer, which we only discovered about two hours after leaving the North East. We had to stop the van and dump it on the hard shoulder in the middle of nowhere!

8. Why did Van Hielan call it a day and any chance the band may reappear in the future?

The band had run it's course after 2.5 years! It was too much hard work for little return and the audiences were unpredictable. One week pulling 100 then 300 the next!
It was great fun and the last line up was superb! Never say never, but I doubt it! Time to move on ...

Stevie is singing for an awesome Iron Maiden tribute MAIDEN SCOTLAND (http://www.maidenscotland.com) who have just completed a five date tour of Scotland as support and
backing band to Paul Dianno.

9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Interviews for you :-) Apart from being a husband and spending time with my family - a little web design, but mostly writing and recording!

10. Message to your fans...

Have we got any ??? If so, visit our website (http://www.cry-havoc.co.uk) and email us at info@cry-havoc.co.uk

We are keen to talk to fans and have no qualms about sending them MP3s of new songs.Oh and don't forget to buy REFUEL in September - sensational artwork, tons of new photos - You won't be disappointed!

Take care, peace!
Paul Logue


Boy this band ROCK! Pure and simple rock - no frills - just damn fine tunes and lots of guitar.

1 What have you been up to so far this year and what have you planned for the next few months?

This year for American Dog has been our busiest, We finished and released our third studio album "Scars-n-Bars", played a ton of shows in the midwest on it, then toured Germany with the "V-8 Wankers", who we also did a split (vinyl) single with which featured the first ever lead vocals of our Guitarist Steve Theado on the Deep Purple song "Black Night", then went into Belgium, and then went on a tour through France with "Crucified Barbara" a great up and coming all-female band from Sweden, who were not only a great band but excellent tour mates as well, we got along so well that we decided to have some fun, so we learned "Please Don't Touch" (The old Johnny Kidd song, that was re-done by Motorhead and Girlschool) at sound checks and did it as the encore for our last three shows together, and seeing how both bands are on the same label in France (Bad Reputation) the label President flipped and demanded a recording , which has now turned into a full blown Motorhead Tribute Disc, which should be out in October. (We also did our own version of "Rock It" from Another Perfect Day for the Compilation). We then came back to the States and hit the Biker Circuit, doing seven shows on the Easyriders Rodeo Tour. Then a few local shows with Blackberry Smoke, and then we recorded a live cd , "Foamin' at the Mouth - Live!", here in Columbus which will be released exclusively through our website here in North America the first week of September. We've got a couple outside shows coming up with Molly Hatchet and The Godz and then we head back to Belgium and France with Crucified Barbara. When we get back we'll start demoing songs for our next studio disc (Which is already half written) and then do a few shows with Jason McMasters band "Broken Teeth"..................whew! and all that without management.

you can keep up with us at our new website:


2 Best live gig(s) this year & why? (Can be your own gigs and/or other bands)

So far the best for me personally has been the shows with Crucified Barbara, the crowd reaction to "Please Don't Touch" has been Amazing.Also was lucky enough to see Whitesnake in Columbus, Ohio and it was great. They opened up with "Burn" !!!! Holy Shit!

3 New msuic/books/films you've discovered/bought this year and why are they so good?

In new bands , I'd Recommend, Crucified Barbara, Crank County Daredevils and a Very Outlaw Country band from North Carolina called "Rebel Son".


You hankering after 80's melodic hard rock but with a modern edge? Look no further as this band celebrate all that is great about classic hard rock.

1 What have you been up to so far this year and wehat have you planned for the next few months?

For the last few months MADISON PAIGE has been writing and recording new material as we search for a new guitar player and bassist. If you'd like to audition, please e-mail madisonpaigeinfo@aol.com for submission guidelines.

2 Best live gig(s) this year & why? (Can be your own gigs and/or other bands)

Best live show I have seen all year was Europe at the House Of Blues in Hollywood, CA. The band was tight & Joey Tempest must be drinking from the same fountain of youth that Jon Bon Jovi does. Incredible energy all around and flawless execution. It was like they never went away.

3 New msuic/books/films you've discovered/bought this year and why are they so good?

I picked up the new All American Rejects album "Move Along" and I'm blown away. Fantastic production by Howard Benson, great hooks and a surprisingsly strong '80s hard rock influence. Very impressive.

Richie Rivera

Ian Pollard - GRTR! Reviewer

Ian Pollard is a Magnum fanatic plus he has written a cracking review of this year's Sweden Rocks festival (hop over to GRTR! to see it).

1 What have you been up to so far this year and wehat have you planned for the next few months?

Plenty of work keeping me busy. Nearly all spare time is taken up with the kids or going to gigs and festivals :-) Off on holiday tomorrow for 2 weeks - nice little cottage in Scotland well away from any signs of civilization. Just going to chill out, switch mobile phone off for the duration, read, kick a ball around, build sand castles etc etc.

Probably only been to about 20 gigs so far this year (+ SRF of course, which counts for a lot more bands), so pretty slow. Kicks off big time after the hols though with absolutely loads of bands touring in the last 4 months of the year. First one after we're back is the 2nd "Party in the Paddock" - a charity gig organised by Bernie Marsden. You might want to give it a mention on the newswire - great opportunity to meet all the musicians there. Check out http://www.partyinthepaddock.co.uk/index.php last year's was great (you can even spot me in one of the photos on the site wearing my very loud "Queen" shirt) - http://www.partyinthepaddock.co.uk/gallery/event/orig/4.jpg.

2 Best live gig(s) this year & why? (Can be your own gigs and/or other bands)

The Magnum Storyteller gigs were awesome of course, the band were really on form and almost overwhelmed at the response they got. Also the Mostly Autumn album release day show (I still like the Astoria as a venue, despite the horrendous beer prices and now living 200 miles away). Great band performing the whole of the fantastic new album live on the day it was officially released (just about everyone there had the album 2 months earlier as we were all pre-order subscribers that actually created the finance for it to be recorded).

I must give a special mention to the headline act at "Rock and Blues" this year - the Australian Pink Floyd Show! I'm not usually big on tribute bands, but these guys are bloody impressive. They do the full Floyd thing, with a stage show that gives Queen or the Rush 30 tour a good run for their money. They sound absolutely spot on too.

3 New msuic/books/films you've discovered/bought this year and why are they so good?

Not too much new music - Within Temptation for sure (playing at Bloodstock in 2 weeks). Blew me away at SRF. Evanesence / Nightwish / Kate Bush all rolled into one.
New album "The Calling" by Audiovision, which is a project put together by a friend of mine from Sweden - Christian Rivel. He's really got quite a few "names" working on this one, and it is very good indeed. Check it out at: http://www.rivelrecords.com/

Best film I've seen this year has to be "Sin City". Very dark, and a great performance from Mickey Rourke. Even Clive Owen is OK in it.

Interview - LYZA WILSON

If you like feisty female singers in the style of Alannis Morrisette then check out Lyza's debut album and website - you won't be disappointed!

What are you currently up to? (E.g. touring/studio, etc.)
I am currently getting my cd out there as much as possible. Trying to get radio play wherever possible, etc.

Brief history of how you got into the music business and the style of music
you play…
I got into the music business slowly, playing gigs, then meeting people…The style of music I play is really eclectic. I kind of go all over the map really. I just play what I love. I think all of it is really infused with soul, at least my soul anyway.

Could you give us some background to your debut album please?
I worked with some amazing musicians and writers and we came up with some great music. We got a mix of songs that are funky, dancy, rock n' roll and soulful.

What bands/artists do you admire and/or are an influence?
I admire so many artists, its hard to name them all. I could start with Stevie Wonder, Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Rickie Lee Jones, Lyle Lovett, just to name a few.

What has been the highlight(s) and lowpoint(s) of your career to date?
High points, performing at gigs, making great music. Low points, not being able to reach people all over with my music--its so hard to get out there.

I see form your website that you are a trained dancer. How have you worked
this into your stage show and which do you prefer – singing or dancing?
I definatley incorporate dancing in my act, I love to move around the stage and love to dance in general. I prefer singing of course.

What ideally would you like to achieve ideally by this time next year?
I would like to get my music heard by the masses. I would love to tour.

How easy/hard is it to get gigs? What have been the live highlights so far?
Gigs are there in New York city, its just deciding where to play. The great clubs are harder to get into. The highlights have been The Red Lion and Piano's.

Has the Internet helped spread the word about your music and do you
agree/disagree that downloading aids newer bands?
I can say the internet has definitely helped me get my music out there.
What’s the most rock ‘n’ roll moment you have had so far?
Playing in front of 15,000 people in Belgium.

What CD's do you currently have available and where can they be purchased
My first album that is self titled Lyza Wilson is available at Lyzawilson.com, amazon.com and on cdbaby.

Message to your fans..
Listen, love and thanks.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


Mark Mangold is of course the driving force behind the excellent pomp/melodic rockers the Sign. He also manages to continue working with Drive She, Said, solo work and producing new artists like the excellent Lyza Wilson.
Find out more at -


1. What are you currently up to? (E.g. touring/studio, etc.)

Presently working on getting the Lyza Wilson CD out there. Gigging, radio interviews and all that stuff. It seems to be going very well and hopefully we will attract a "major" soon...as that's the ultimate goal.

2. Could you take us through some personal highlights of the new Sign album

Well, I assume you are talking about the second Sign CD..."The Second Coming".  That's a difficult question, as the recent events with Frontiers have so marred that project, with their cutting out so many songs, remixing the record so...terribly, and treating us so disrespectfully. Â
But I thank you for the question because it helps me remember the great time we had writing the songs, and putting it together...how we were trying to push the envelope and not be limited by old "melodic metal" rules...eg. 4 minute songs, verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/solo/chorus/fade.  It was actually more difficult departing from those confines, which also offer a certain security, and come up with "moments" and changes that were decided upon more from an artistic or subjective point of view...eg. WHEN am I sick of that riff, or tempo, or vibe and when do I want to seque into something else and WHAT will that something else be.
Maybe it's more of a symphonic mentality, if you have to give it a name, but it just comes down to really being creative and fashioning a flowing, interesting (hopefully), sometimes surprising or even shocking hour or so of music.  With our MTV and soundbite oriented "tastes" we are used to a 10 second commercial that gets a point across, or a soundbite or visual (eg. a video or "The Matrix") that flashes stuff in front of our unbelievably fast brain...and we get it.  So why does a song have to be 3 or 4 minutes...if you can get the point across in a minute...or it just acts as a connecting seque between two other longer pieces...the brain just takes it in.  It is harder to write this way, but I really think it is more entertaining and may possibly be the wave of the future. It's alot of fun doing and alot of fun listening...and way more risky, in my opinion. You really just have to follow your unlimited imagination...and open up to ANYTHING.

3. How come Boby Rondinelli and Billy Greer aren't involved this time

Both those wonderful people were busy with their bands, Kansas and Blue Oyster.

4. The Sign played some live dates recently with amongst other Danny Vaughn
guesting. How did these go and any more live shows possible in the future?

The show in Belguim was great, Danny is a great performer and his combination with Terry was amazing...as it's a challenging vocal performance, they were like a wrestling tag team...switching off, harmonizing, trading off lines....it was very cool..alot of energy. And of course the band is really good with Bivona, Hermann, Bigan and Lyza Wilson on some background parts.

5. Drive, She Said - what next for the band after last year's excellent
'Real Life' album? Were you pelased at how the album was received by fans
and reviewers?

Not much on the table at the moment with D,SS. As you know it always comes down to a record company wanting to do something. I'm actually not sure how it was received by the people...though I think it was our best record...of course it is 2005 and it is an 80's record.

6. You've done solo work as well - could you bring us up to date on this and
any future plans for more solo work?

Well, my two solo CD's are more piano oriented and by no means metal.  I don't know how to describe them, and either does any one else (ha).  But it's definitely got a new agey vibe going on, positive and spiritual lyrics...and seems to get a wonderful response from who ever hears it because it is...quite original if I do say so myself...not easily categorized...though isn't that what being a solo is about...carving out your own niche.

7. Is the Internet helping your music or allowing too much to be heard for

I think the internet is definitely helping, and making what would otherwise not be available at all, available to some extent. There aren't too many places people can actually download stuff, but we have it on Indigorecords.com...to listen to bits...and if someone digs it they can order it...and we usually throw in a solo CD or two with anything that anyone buys...really it's just to spread the music...AND, in the case of The Second Coming, to make the band's version available to TRY to save face after the humiliation of the Frontiers version. Every opinion I've heard, and there have been quite a few, has been that our version is far superior.

8. What have been the most memorable live shows for you and why?

I really love playing, of course visually in my mind...the larger venues leave an impression...all those wonderful people. But I must say I have great thoughts about every gig I've ever played. It's all been a blast.

9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Writing songs...ha...

10. Message to your fans...

Hello out there and thanks for listening...if you wanna do me a personal favor...please check out Lyzawilson.com. If we can get this one across here in the States, I'll continue to have a career...ha ha. (and Lyza is a great singer...though it's NOT metal...actually I take that back on one song..Anonymous...one reviewer said it reminded her of "Heart"...I didn't get it...but whatever). Â
So....thanks for listening and wishing you peace and love.

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