Archive for March, 2015

Toto1988

The new album from Toto inspired me to go back to one of the old interviews that I did with the band back in 1988 for inclusion on this blog. I reprinted this one in RETROFUTURE 4 in 2011, so it was not hard to find. Joseph Williams was the singer in the band at the time, as he is now again. So here´s a bit of nostalgia for you. Enjoy!

* * * * *

What have you been up to since you were last here?

Steve / Well, there´s the new album, we have a few new babies at home, a new house…

 

On your new album you´re working with an outside producer for the first time. What made you take that step?

Joseph / We wanted to be able to concentrate on the creative side and just let somebody else take care of the technical.

David / For the first time really, we felt like artists in the studio. In the past, maybe 60% of our time was spent dealing with the sound. This was our first digital recording as well.

 

Joseph has done a couple of records now with the band, is a live album in the cards anytime soon?

Jeff / I know we said this the last time we were here as well, but I think we need another studio record before we record a live album.

David / “The Seventh One” was a great live album, until we did all the overdubs, ha ha…

Mike / We´ll actually record a live album, but it´s for the Japanese market.

Steve / Yeah, the Japanese market is very different to Europe and the US.

 

Which market is your strongest today?

David / If you add up all the sales for Europe combined, then this is probably our best market today.

 

Where is Steve Porcaro?

Joseph / In his room! He´s still touring with us but he wants his role in the band to be toned down a bit. He doesn´t like journalists!

 

I heard that Mike broke his arm in Germany on the last tour?

Mike / Yes, I fell off the stage in the dark and I broke my arm!

Jeff / I didn´t see it so we started the show and played seven songs with a bass player that was grinning with pain.

David / I felt bad when I found out about it because I told him to break a leg before the show, as you do for good luck, ha ha…

 

Are you alright with these long tours?

Steve / It can be hard. I miss my wife and my sons and my daughter a lot. My youngest son is taking his first steps right now and I´m not there to see it. You feel it the most in your hotel room in the middle of the night, staring at the ceiling feeling lonely. But then you feel happy again when you have another crowd in front of you.

 

How do you plan your time?

David / We look ahead about two years. We try to work for four to five month´s at a time, with a little time off for other things in between.

 

Many musicians hate making videos, how do you feel about them?

Joseph / I only hate the bad ones! We´ve made two for the new record, one for the US market and one for you with “Stop Loving You”. The record companies in Europe ignores our advice because they think they understand this market better that we do. We have to respect that.

David / Yes, we have one in Europe that has Joseph in the nude and one for the States in which he´s fully dressed, ha ha…

 

Do you have any favourite cities?

Jeff / Stockholm has always been good to us. London, Paris and Rotterdam as well.

David / It always snows when we´re here though. I hope to see the sun next visit.

 

The new record is longer than most?

David / Yes, it was actually hard to jam it all into the vinyl. We did it anyway because we didn´t want to be restricted by the standard norms. The CD version is even longer actually.

 

Did you record more songs that the ones we´ve got this time around?

Mike / We always record 15 songs at least and then we pick out nine or ten for the album.

David / Sometimes a song will appear on the next album, but that´s rare.

 

What´s going to happen with all these unreleased songs?

Jeff / That you´ll find out after we´ve all died in a plane crash. But seriously, a two hour record would not be a problem to put together.

 

What do you think about the future of the rock business?

Steve / I think that it´ll be just as big in 20 year´s time as it is now, I think I can guarantee that.

David / More and more kids learn to play inspired by their idols. I think we´ll see a lot of new talent in the next decade. Some of them might be very personal. Maybe there´s a new Beatles in the making as we speak?

Joseph / Or maybe there isn´t a new Beatles in the making… Tell them about your dream David…

David / I want to be the guy that you see dance behind Madonna!

 

Michael Eriksson (1988)

(Top image from Folket by me)

(No part of this interview may be quoted without permission)

* * * * *

Advertisements

Robert E. McGinnis

Posted: March 24, 2015 in Books, Cool stuff, General

Book_robert

“The Art of Robert E. McGinnis” (Titan Books, 2014) by Robert E. McGinnis and Art Scott is a big format 180 page hardback that is so good it almost knocks you off your feet. But how could it not be, with the great art of The King himself splattered all over it in better quality that you´ve ever seen. And it´s all here, the classic Movie posters, the great Pulp covers, the Wild West stuff, the nature period.

It´s all stunning but my biggest love is the Pulp stuff, had I not packed all that stuff in boxes for a future move I could´ve raided the archives and taken a shot of this book on top of dozens of Carter Brown books and similar titles. I can´t do that today, but it would have been nice.

Robert belongs in the Top 5, no doubt about it.

(My image of said book)

DP_cool

I located an old Deep Purple song book from Warner Bros. the other day, you know one of these books with sheet music and lyrics. Plus great photograph´s by Fin Costello, who travelled with Deep Purple on the Japanese Tour of December 1975 (from which most of the shots were picked). This “Come Taste The Band” book is special to me, it really is the greatest of them all. Somebody did a first rate job on this and I´m so glad to have it in the old collection.

I also remember a girl aged about 17 who visited me around 1979 (I had a Deep Purple club going at the time), and I remember her looking at the spread that you can see here and she totally freaked out. I was witnessing pure passion, a complete meltdown of happiness if you will. Really, if I had captured her reaction on camera, it could have sold a million records in a TV ad. You could never fake what I saw in that room.

I wonder what happened to her? Can this image still make her feel good inside? My guess would be that it could still mean something. Nostalgia is a strong emotion.

(Image of song book spread by me)

RF8_library

Friends of RETROFUTURE can now grab a free copy of RETROFUTURE 8 at the Library here in Östersund (Jämtland County). A big thank you to my friend Thomas Drugg for all the help through the years.

Great feedback from prominent journalists, I´ll keep it to myself though.

(Image from library by me)

20150304

What a night. I´m battling a cold but I had to put on a brave face and attend the RETROFUTURE 8 release party at Jane Doe (see earlier posts for details). It was very nice to spend some quality time with Thomas Drevin and Björn Höglund though, as they played Kiss and Deep Purple classics all night long.

I´ll take a few days off from blogging right now, and try to get back on track.

(Images by me)

Malmsteen

This interview with Yngwie Malmsteen was conducted backstage at Ishallen (a 10.000 capacity arena in Stockholm) in early April 1990, so it´s been 25 years now. Being Swedes we talked in Swedish so this is a translation made now for this blog. I did reprint this in RETROFUTURE 2 back in 2010, so that´s my source now (the original tape probably exists somewhere). I´ve met Yngwie a few times and later on, when I had the DEEP PURPLE FOREVER thing going, he even promoted the magazines on film. So I like the guy, have no reason not to. Also, back in 1990, he was touring for the “Eclipse” album, which was one of my all time favourites. That day, Yngwie signed 600 LPs and 200 CDs at a place called Åhléns in Stockholm, so it was a busy day for the man. Quite a homecoming though. Enjoy!

 * * * * *

You are touring the world and then you´re back home where it all started. How does that feel?

– It feels bloody good! It feels like a small triumph, to be able to be back and to play Isstadion – actually, it feels like quite a triumph. I´m so happy with the new album and the new band so it´s great to be able to come back like this to show everybody what we´re made of (laughs).

I think that keyboardist Mats Olausson has done a tremendous job on the album. Do you feel that he´s added something to the band?

– Well, I think you know the answer to that question. I´m definitely the guy that is in charge, it has always been this way and it always will. Having said that, new people often bring fresh inspiration and there´s a good feeling in the band right now. People used to bitch and moan about everything, but it´s OK now. But the songs that you can hear on this album were written before this band existed. I told the old guys that it was getting stale. The new guys have added a positive feel to it all, but I already had the songs.

What was it like to work with Joe Lynn Turner? Was it difficult?

– Near impossible, I would say. Very negative guy, he´s a great singer but his voice didn´t quite fit my music. I think he should join Foreigner or somebody like that. Joe liked to say things behind my back, it was a lot of backstabbing going on. It was a pain to deal with.

So he was fired?

– Yes.

What do you think about him being in Deep Purple now?

– To be honest, I don´t like that. Deep Purple is Deep Purple with Ian Gillan, that´s it. It´s Rainbow now, I think. But I wish him well, he´s doing his thing and I´m doing what I need to do. It was never meant to be. But I´d love to hear him sing “Child In Time” (laughs).

Was it a conscious thing to put a Swedish band together?

– No, it was all fate. We tried out people in Miami, London, New York – all over the place. But this felt right. It took us two months to complete the record.

Have you sold Gold with any record in the US at this point?

– No, but “Odyssey” is close, about 470.000 copies now. The American record company has fucked everything up. I´ve given them records that could easily have sold Gold and Platinum but they have done fuck all to make it happen. They just ship the albums out and then they don´t care to promote it properly. All they care about is getting Bon Jovi and Def Leppard out there. It was their fault as well that “Live In Leningrad” was delayed eight months before it hit the stores. They just waited for Bon Jovi to go there. I mean, I had already been there and sold 240.000 tickets but still they couldn´t care less. Still, there´s new people at the company now in the US, maybe things will change for the better?

In which markets do you think that the company has done a good job?

– Sweden has always been good, and England and most of Europe. And especially Japan, but not America. They´ve ruined a lot for me.

How was it to play in Russia?

– Well, poor sods… What a depressing, tasteless, smelly fucking society that was. I mean, I was shocked. Poor devils, that´s all I can say. I mean, it´s not their fault but they are so in your face, so unintelligent. But the audiences were wonderful. It was a blast playing there. But we stayed for five weeks and that was just too much. It was like living in a black and white movie. Nothing to eat, nothing to do, nothing to see…

How well was it organized?

– Are you kidding me? It was a big joke. Like, nobody speaks any English, and they walk up to you and address you in Russian and still thinks that you´ll understand them. Even the hotel in Moscow, which is supposed to be the biggest in the world with 8.000 rooms and everything, felt like a prison. And the water made you sick, in the end we brushed out teeth with Scotch. One night in the bar, I accidentally ordered Whiskey with Ice and got so sick. Everybody kept asking me why I had recorded the live album there, but when I did nobody else had done it. But then the assholes at PolyGram decided to hold the release until Bon Jovi had been there, so by the time it came out it felt old.

Do you recall what it was like for you when you first came to the States from Sweden about seven years ago?

– I didn´t like it, I thought it was false and filthy. Los Angeles really is a bad place. I´ve been known to call it the armpit of America. I live in Miami now and you can hardly compare the two places. But I´ve lived in America for seven years now and I feel alright about it now. I still hang around Swede´s a lot and my visits to Sweden keeps me from missing the old country too much.

Do you warm up prior to every show?

– No, I go nuts right away (laughs). It´s full steam ahead. But I do play the guitar a few hours every day, yes.

What was it that made you dream about this life when you were young? Did you see Deep Purple and Rainbow here in town and said yourself “I want to do that”?

– Yeah, it was pretty much like that. But I never felt quite at home in the audience. I need to be on that stage, do you understand what I mean? I´m a performer, not a listener, I hate to see bands.

How big has the workload been since your arrival in the States?

– I´ve worked constantly ever since and I´ve never been on holiday. Occasionally, you feel that you just want to walk away from it all, and just watch some television or whatever, but I would be bored very quickly if I did. This European tour will keep me busy for a couple of months. We do Spain, Italy, the whole place. Then we do Japan, America and Australia. It´ll go on until February.

You´ve a song called “Judas” on the new album that is very good, and it sports good lyrics as well. Do you think you may run into trouble with religious fanatics with that one? Has it happened to you before?

– Yes, we had a song called “Desciples of Hell” that we couldn´t play in certain States in America. But “Judas” is actually about PolyGram, or the American office in any case. Same goes for “Devil In Disquise”, and “See You In Hell, Don´t Be Late”. It all comes down to my frustrations in them, and with old managers.

So what happens if they mishandle this album as well?

– Then I´ll take them to court. I´ll give them one last chance to get it right. I see this as a very artistic enterprise, it´s deeply emotional for me. It´s like cutting a piece of your heart out when you give them a new record, and then they just throw it in the bin. I don´t appreciate that sort of behavior. Look, I´ll be doing this 30 years from now and I´ll sell just as many records then as I do now. I´m not here to fizzle out, like pop stars do. And then you see them put energy behind artists that will only be one hit wonders. Why can´t they see that they are fucking themselves in the ass, basically?

What did you think of Rainbow´s appearance in Japan back in 1984 with a full orchestra (out on video)? Would you be interested in doing something like that some day?

– That was cool, but the sound they captured was not very good. I´ve thought about doing something similar, especially now that we´ve Svante Henryson in the band, who´s played in orchestras himself. Vivaldi comes to mind. We thought about it. It can still happen. Not sure if it would sound as good as I would like to, you can hear that on the Rainbow video. There´s a lot of Paganini in the new songs though. Listen to “Motherless Child” and “Demon Driver”. But having said that, there´s also more blues guitar in there now, and I like the mixture very much. Personally, I think that this is the best album that I´ve ever made.

 

Michael Eriksson (1990)

(No part of this interview may be quoted without permission)

* * * * *