Archive for the ‘Classic Rock – Interviews’ Category

I interviewed the chaps in Accept a few times in the mid 1980s and I really liked them back then (still do). I located an article that I had in print in a newspaper called LT (Jämtland County) here in Sweden on May 24 1986 a few weeks ago so I will translate that one for this blog today. Not sure who took that picture (was not me, could have been a promotional shot I guess). Anyway, I will translate the article just as it was. Enjoy.

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Accept digs Sweden. It was here that the first sign of possible international fame came up when 20,000 people rushed out and bought “Restless And Wild” 1982. Soon thereafter, they played in front of 1,200 fans at a cinema called Draken in Stockholm. Since then they have performed at Hovet (a hockey arena in Stockholm) three times and the third gig (that they just did) in front of 5,000 fans turned out to be the best yet. So things are going well for Accept and it really was here in Scandinavia that they found their first success outside of Germany.

The last time I met them they promoted the “Metal Heart” album and I will never forget their happy faces when they got Gold albums for over 50,000 copies sold of “Balls To The Wall” over at the Grand Hotel a few hours before the gig that night. It must have been one of the very first Gold albums that they ever got. In their excitement they promised to come back to Sweden every year forever. When I talked with guitarist Wolf Hoffmann this time right before the recent gig at Hovet he was optimistic and very sound. And this attitude is a good thing to have when you are undertaking the pressure of long tours and album recordings. Wolf explains what has been going on since the last time we met and about the scene at large.

– “We toured “Metal Heart” non-stop for seven months and outside of Europe we also did Bangkok, Japan and America. In the States we headlined in smaller hockey arenas ourselves and shared the bill with other bands, like Krokus, in bigger venues. The rest of the year, we recorded “Russian Roulette””.

The last time you were here, Stefan Kaufmann said that you were going to record a live album, but of this we have only seen a six track EP recorded in Japan so far.

– “What happened was that we skipped the idea of a full live album at an early stage, but on arrival in Japan the record company over there wanted us to record a couple of shows for that market. The Japanese market is very special in that way. So we recorded a couple of gigs and they released the six track EP with no overdubs or anything like that over there. It ended up to be fairly good and then it started to pop up in different markets and before we knew it it was out everywhere. I guess the other markets do not want to lose out”.

So when do you think that the timing will be right for a proper first live album?

– “I would like to do one more studio album before we do that, but then I think the timing would be right. We are already recording a few gigs here and there so in about a year from now I think it will look pretty good. It has to be a double LP with 15-20 songs covering our career. We shall see when we feel that the timing is right”.

How are things going in America? That market is still fairly new for you.

-“It is going pretty well over there, in spite of our kind of music selling less than a couple of years ago over there. I think that MTV got a bit turned off when the silly Senators wives tried to ban our music last year. Some bands are hurting right now. Our tour went very well though and we made a profit”.

Do you feel that the general vibe at a concert can suffer if you have really big crowds in front of you?

– “Personally I like 3,000 seaters best. It is amazing to play then, but you also have to think about how you present the band. And with all the PA equipment and everything else maybe it is better to play in bigger places after all”.

I heard that your first visit in Japan was a tremendous success.

– “Yes, we were just voted Best Live Band in a magazine over there. To have success in Japan is every bands dream really, it is all so well organized over there. We did five six shows in places like Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. And that is all you need to do”.

Everybody wants to play at the Budokan in Tokyo. Is that a dream for you as well?

– “Not really. It is a lot of prestige in it. Same thing with Madison Square Garden in New York, everybody wants to play there. But from a financial point of view, and soundwise, it is not that good”.

Are you happy with the new album?

– “Yes, I think it is our best yet. When we recorded “Metal Heart” we were under a lot of pressure to write commercial songs for the radio so we put songs like “Midnight Mover” on the album and it did not feel right. We will never compromise like that again. Also, we produced “Russian Roulette” ourselves, that is probably why it sounds more like “Balls To The Wall”. We produced that one as well”.

The UK market is one of the toughest in the world. You have had good press there but have you noticed an increase in sales at all?

– “No, England is very strange that way. The hard rock scene pretty much came out of that place but in spite of that this music is not very big over there. I have often wondered why England is the way it is. It seems that they follow trends”.

They seem to have a problem with coming up with new bands, most of the interesting new bands are coming from America, mid-Europe or Scandinavia now.

– “Yes, Scandinavia has surprised us lately. You hear about bands that are doing well out in the world all the time. Where did they all come from?”.

The American band Dokken has opened up for you recently. Why did they cancel Sweden?

– “Wow, that is a whole chapter in itself. I guess they have opened for us in about 40 cities now. But the thing is they are doing drugs and they are not behaving very well. Then a truck driver yells that there has been a nuclear accident in the Soviet Union and that Sweden is engulfed in a toxic cloud. They really believed it and we could not believe it when they refused to travel with us here, without even checking out the facts. They made a decision like that on the spot. Pretty tragic”.

It would seem that a lot of the American bands from Los Angeles are doing drugs.

– “Yes, sadly that is probably the case. They bring it on themselves, they will be burned out within a few years. It really is tragic and it is hard to understand the lack of work ethic that you see. This is a job, not a bloody party. We think longterm, we want to do this for the rest of our lives, and that requires discipline and a lot of hard work”.

Accept has all my respect and I think that they are going to be a very big band. Maybe one of the greatest. They are a band that you can trust, it feels good to know that they are down to earth on every level. Stability is important.

Michael Eriksson (LT 1986) / Trinkelbonker 2000

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Other interviews on this blog: DEEP PURPLE 1996 (June 27 2020), EUROPE 1986 (June 16 2020), DEEP PURPLE PODCAST 2020 (April 6 2020), KIMBERLY GOSS/SINERGY 2002 (March 31 2020), RAINBOW 1997 (March 9 2020), RAINBOW 1996 (March 6 2020), MICHAEL BRADFORD 2003/MAKING OF DEEP PURPLE´S “BANANAS” (March 2 2020), URIAH HEEP 1988 (February 18 2020), ANNE-LIE RYDÉ 1984 (January 21 2020), CRYSTAL VIPER 2020 (January 16 2020), JOHN NORUM 1988 (January 12 2020), ARTOMUS FRIENDSHIP 2019 (November 10 2019), NAZARETH 1989 (August 26 2019), VELVET INSANE 2018 (September 11 2018), JON LORD 1981 (December 15 2015), DAVID COVERDALE 1981 (November 13 2015), GLENN HUGHES 1996 (May 12 2015), TOTO 1988 (March 31 2015), YNGWIE MALMSTEEN 1990 (March 1 2015), MARTINA EDOFF 2009 (December 4 2014), MICHAEL MOJO NILSSON 2014 (January 21 2014), THE HUGHES TURNER PROJECT 2001 (December 29 2013), JOE LYNN TURNER 1996-1998 (October 9 2013), GLENN HUGHES & JOHN NORUM 1988 (September 21 2013), JOE LYNN TURNER 1994-1995 (September 9 2013), JOE LYNN TURNER 1993 (September 7 2013), STEVE LUKATHER 1989 (September 4 2013), BLACK SABBATH 1983 (August 22 2013), RAINBOW 1995 (July 19 2013), MICK UNDERWOOD/GILLAN 1982 (June 11 2013), DEEP PURPLE 2002 (May 2 2013), DEEP PURPLE 1998 ( February 25 2013), BLACK SABBATH 1986 (February 12 2013), BLACK SABBATH 1987-1989 (December 31 2012), JOHNNIE BOLIN 2012 (December 24 2012), MARTIN POPOFF & RICH GALBRAITH 2009 (November 12 2012), DAVID COVERDALE 2000 (October 14 2012), JON LORD 1984 (September 7 2012), JOE LYNN TURNER 1992 (August 31 2012), JUDAS PRIEST 1986 (August 22 2012), RONNIE JAMES DIO 2001 (August 20 2012), NIGHTWISH 2002 (August 14 2012).

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This interview with Deep Purple´s Roger Glover goes back to my DEEP PURPLE FOREVER days. In 1996, Steve Morse was the new guy in Purple and the band set out to promote “Purpendicular” in a big way. They wanted to restore the reputation of Deep Purple and that could only be done by taking it to the people. This meant way more concerts, and outside of the usual cities too. In Sweden that summer, we got 10 gigs. I looked back on this a couple of days ago on this blog (June 25), today I will share the chat that I had with Roger. My friend Staffan Eriksson was with me and a guy from a magazine called Slitz also joined the conversation. This is all of it, as it was. The show in Paris that is mentioned ended up as the “Live At The Olympia” live album (released in 1997). Enjoy.

I want you to know that a lot of people seem to think that the joy is back in your playing, especially if you compare “Purpendicular” with “The Battle Rages On”.

– It is called “having fun” (laughs). (Pointing at the cover of DPF #11) Nice cover.

Thank you, it was taken in 1994 when you were here. Let us begin with this tour. You have just been in Russia for the first time. How was that?

– How did we percieve it?

Yes, you played in Moscow, right?

– Yes, it was a festival called Dynamo. It was us, Status Quo and a few local acts.

How big was the audience?

– Between 35,000-40,000. In fact, it looked like there were as many soldiers present as there were fans. It was incredible, the crew said “You are not going to believe this”. Uniforms of all kinds.

So a bit strange perhaps, but I am sure the people are nice over there.

– Oh yes, it was not that strange. Big festivals usually has an atmosphere of excitement in the air anyway. It means that you are open to take chances, especially if the sound is good. The worst that can happen is that you try too hard. It can have an opposite effect. It can be a bit frustrating if the audience is way in the back. That really is the worst thing that can happen and it was a bit like that in Moscow.

Too many soldiers in the way?

– Well, there were four lines of them.

So the Moscow concert was the most strange one on the tour so far?

– I guess you can say that, but I do not like words like “best”, “worst”, “loudest”, “lowest”…

You are doing a very long tour. Have you decided yet when it is to end?

– Probably 2014…

(Laughs) No, really. But these long tours, looking back at your history, as some people will, there is a worry that the workload can be too much and lead to a repeat of what killed the band before…

– We have no plans to split at this moment.

(Laughs) Thank you very much!

– Not this decade. Not this century even!

Well, that would be something would it not.

– It is not that far off is it?

A couple of albums…

– Yes, a couple of records and a few million concerts!

What about America? Are you planning to ease back into that market again?

– Sooner or later we are going to play there again. No doubt about it. People are discussing it right now.

Are you happy about your American label? Has the album sold anything Stateside?

– No, the album has not sold well at all in America. America is the slumbering market and it is difficult for us to be heard. It has nothing to do with the label, it is the current musical climate and we may not fit in right now. In some sense, we are an underground band again over there.

Depending on your point of wiew, that can be a good thing…

– We do not mind. What we do may not be hip at the moment but that is not our problem. We just do our thing. And the strength of this band is that it is very natural so it is not in our nature to chase what is popular this week. In all honesty, and I have to say this, I am so happy about this new record and how we are right now that I have to think that it will sell some day. It might take a year or two for the word of mouth to do it, but I think it will happen. “In Rock” meant nothing in America, “Fireball” had a better response. We may have to go through the same thing again, it may take a few years for America to discover us again.

But you may have to do 150 concerts in America to make that happen again…

– I have nothing against us doing that.

It would be amazing if you did.

– If everything is right, the timing, the backing, we have nothing against hard work.

Have you decided to record another album next year?

– Yes, but we do not know where or when. The tour might end in March, but that is me guessing. We would like to play in Australia and South America too. But these are just thoughts I have and I would not be surprised if we tour until maybe April next year and then the next album will come up after that.

Was “Purpendicular” a result of you jamming together?

– Was it a jam? Yes, it was well cooked (laughs).

Joe Lynn Turner apparently wanted to call his album with you “Jam”…

– I do not think I know who Joe Lynn Turner is. But yes, the new album is a result of us jamming together. It felt like 1969 again. It is the first album since those days when we feel like a real band again. The chemistry of a band is so important. We have always been blessed in that, even in difficult situations we have always been able to come up with decent stuff. Even our worst records have some good songs on them. You will always try whatever the situation may be to do your best. Nobody ever walks into a studio with the ambition to make a bad album and you never walk on stage thinking lets do a bad concert. If it happens, it happens. That is life. I am beginning to view Deep Purple as this gigantic soap opera. It goes up and down, but now everything is fine.

Have you recorded any shows yet?

– We recorded Paris, with a horn section!

Horn section?

– Yes, we had a few guys with us and they joined in for a few tracks, like “No One Came”, “Highway Star”, “Purpendicular Waltz” and “Cascades…”.

That is fantastic. I had no idea.

– AHA! (laughs)

Well, I have heard that something might happen in Montreux on this tour?

– Maybe a repeat of what we did in Paris, yes.

Staffan / Do you miss Ritchie?

– I have nothing negative to say about Ritchie. He has been part of my life. But I am happy now, I can say that.

Slitz / I have a question about Joe Satriani. I have heard a bootleg of one of the shows that you did with him and it sounds pretty good. So why did you not ask him to replace Ritchie Blackmore?

– Why did not Joe Satriani get the gig in Deep Purple? He was the guy that stepped in when circumstances dictaded quick solutions. We had a sold out tour in Japan and to go there without Ritchie would have been a risk. So when Ritchie quit we said “Can you please do Japan?” and he said “no”. So I said “Well, you want to leave the band but if we are not going to Japan we may be sued” and he still said “no”. So we were forced into a situation in which we had to try to help safe face for the Japanese promoter. We stood to lose a lot of money if we could not fix the situation and the band could have ended its days with a bunch of lawsuits and nobody wanted that. But the guitarist would have to be somebody with a reputation, for the promoter to be able to say “Ritchie will not play, but…”. And he suggested Joe. And Joe was fantastic, a real professional. I spoke with him on the phone and we sent him some recent live tapes to listen to and then we met in Tokyo and had three days of rehearsals. Not that he really needed it, he would have been OK anyway. He knew what he was doing. And the shows turned out to be great so we said “This is too good, can we do some more?” and he said “OK” and so we booked the summer tour (1994) in Europe.

Did you record any concerts with Joe Satriani?

– No. Ehr, yes, the Japanese shows were recorded. But Joe does not want people to hear it because he does not think he was good enough. You have to respect that. I mean, put yourself in his position. He was not a member of Deep Purple. He was a hired gun. I think we all thought “Is this the guy for us?”. But we never asked him if he wanted to join, maybe so we did not risk to hear him say “No thanks”? And at the end of that tour, when our manager talked to him, it became obvious that he would not join. He said the tour had been the most fun that he had experienced in his life, but that he was tied up for his own thing for at least the next two years. He had records to do. I also think that he looks at himself as being part of a younger generation and maybe he did not want to lose that? He had worked hard to get to where he was. Maybe he thought that he would lose all of that? Steve is not like that. He goes after his instincts and his heart. He is not planning his career, he goes to where he wants to be and that is it.

Do you recall what you played when the band first rehearsed together with Steve?

– Well, that was the concerts that we did in Mexico.

So you never met him before you shared the stage?

– No, it was the same kind of deal as when Joe came in, we sent Steve some tapes and he listened to it. Like with Joe, Steve was just a total professional. It felt like we could just do it. The first thing we worked on later in the studio is a good idea that we still have to complete. Another early idea turned into “Loosen My Strings”.

Staffan / Great bass.

– Thank you. We were just warming up. I just started to play a few things just so that we could get the sound right and Steve joined in. He said “What is that?”, and I said “I am warming up, what are you doing?”. And the band joined in and we had a song.

Do you always record everything that is going on in the studio?

– I am always ready but there is no point in recording every moment. If you did you would never have enough time to check it all out. So I have this DAT player and a microphone in the room and if anything interesting happens I turn it on.

All these tapes from all these recordings… Could you see yourself, someday in the future, sitting down and wading through all this stuff so that the fans could get to hear some of these precious moments?

– I have a 24 track recorder at home and I have a lot of tapes. Sometimes, if I feel a little bit bored, I find myself listening to old tapes of Deep Purple and I have to say that at times I can not help but think about you guys out there (smiles mischievously)…

Slitz / The “In Rock” remaster you released now is pretty interesting.

– Yes, and we are working on “Fireball” right now. Here is a bit of news for you, we did locate a forgotten track, made in 1971. We have still to decide on a title. But it will be on the updated “Fireball”.

Slitz / When you released “Nobody´s Perfect” Ian Gillan called it “an inferior version of “Made In Japan””, so “Come Hell Or High Water”…

(Me) … is a lot better…

– No, it is not. “Made In Japan” was completely honest. “Nobody´s Perfect” was honest in as we told people what we had done on the cover. At the time I thought that if we recorded a lot of shows we would eventually relax and not even think about it. That was an experiment that did not quite work out, nobody cared about the tapes. So when I was tasked to put the live album together I could sense that it was not great. But by then we had spent 100,000 pounds so there was no going back.

But “Come Hell Or High Water” is a good live album surely.

– “Come Hell Or High Water” is, if nothing else, an honest album. But I can for the life of me not understand why they did not put “The Battle Rages On” on it… I do not get that at all.

That was weird.

– It made us very pissed off! But that choice was not ours, we had nothing to do with that album. Nor had Ritchie. It was all the record company. It is terrible when you are criticized and you agree with what is being said. What can I say? We are now trying to make the live set interesting again. For a long time we were stuck with the “Made In Japan” formula, but we are changing that now. We always had a lot of suggestions for songs to play but Ritchie was never interested. You can not force people to do things they are not interested in.

Slitz / Will you record another solo album after “The Mask”?

– Maybe some day. “Accidentally On Purpose” (the Gillan/Glover album) was in a way a follow up and I have a lot of ideas on the shelf. But I have no idea how to package it. I am really not a solo artist. I have never toured as a solo artist. I give everything I have, all my energy to Deep Purple. It is about motivation really. But thanks for asking, I appreciate that.

(End of interview – DEEP PURPLE FOREVER #15 cover shot by Peter Klein, Roger/Steve shot by Staffan Eriksson)

By Michael Eriksson (and Staffan Eriksson & Slitz) 1996 / Trinkelbonker 2020

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As of today, you can find the following interviews on this blog. Enjoy!

EUROPE 1986 (June 16 2020), DEEP PURPLE PODCAST 2020 (April 6 2020), KIMBERLY GOSS/SINERGY 2002 (March 31 2020), RAINBOW 1997 (March 9 2020), RAINBOW 1996 (March 6 2020), MICHAEL BRADFORD 2003/MAKING OF DEEP PURPLE´S “BANANAS” (March 2 2020), URIAH HEEP 1988 (February 18 2020), ANNE-LIE RYDÉ 1984 (January 21 2020), CRYSTAL VIPER 2020 (January 16 2020), JOHN NORUM 1988 (January 12 2020), ARTOMUS FRIENDSHIP 2019 (November 10 2019), NAZARETH 1989 (August 26 2019), VELVET INSANE 2018 (September 11 2018), JON LORD 1981 (December 15 2015), DAVID COVERDALE 1981 (November 13 2015), GLENN HUGHES 1996 (May 12 2015), TOTO 1988 (March 31 2015), YNGWIE MALMSTEEN 1990 (March 1 2015), MARTINA EDOFF 2009 (December 4 2014), MICHAEL MOJO NILSSON 2014 (January 21 2014), THE HUGHES TURNER PROJECT 2001 (December 29 2013), JOE LYNN TURNER 1996-1998 (October 9 2013), GLENN HUGHES & JOHN NORUM 1988 (September 21 2013), JOE LYNN TURNER 1994-1995 (September 9 2013), JOE LYNN TURNER 1993 (September 7 2013), STEVE LUKATHER 1989 (September 4 2013), BLACK SABBATH 1983 (August 22 2013), RAINBOW 1995 (July 19 2013), MICK UNDERWOOD/GILLAN 1982 (June 11 2013), DEEP PURPLE 2002 (May 2 2013), DEEP PURPLE 1998 ( February 25 2013), BLACK SABBATH 1986 (February 12 2013), BLACK SABBATH 1987-1989 (December 31 2012), JOHNNIE BOLIN 2012 (December 24 2012), MARTIN POPOFF & RICH GALBRAITH 2009 (November 12 2012), DAVID COVERDALE 2000 (October 14 2012), JON LORD 1984 (September 7 2012), JOE LYNN TURNER 1992 (August 31 2012), JUDAS PRIEST 1986 (August 22 2012), RONNIE JAMES DIO 2001 (August 20 2012), NIGHTWISH 2002 (August 14 2012).

Found this article from the old days a couple of weeks ago and decided that it could be fun to add it to the blog. It is an interview with Europe singer Joey Tempest from Europe back when “The Final Countdown” was coming up. I will just translate the article such as it was in the newspaper (FOLKET, June 28 1986), and the album review. The picture for this article was taken by Åke Ericson, can not recall who that was now or if we ever met. Looks as it was shot on an earlier tour to me, but it looks pretty good. So here we go…


Mirror, mirror…

We will not dwell on who is the most beautiful star in rock, but we can tell who is the biggest. At least here in Sweden. Joey Tempest, the singer in Europe, can enjoy both another Gold album as well as a #1 hit right now. We managed to get a talk at the end of the big Swedish tour.

What happened when you recorded “The Final Countdown”? I understand that you had some problems with your voice there for a while.

– When we had finished the “On The Loose” Tour, we started discussing names for whom was going to produce the next album. This took several months but we eventually ended up with Kevin Elson, well known from having worked with bands like Journey. We recorded most of the album in Switzerland in a tiny village that was so boring that you had to stay focused on the job. There were no distractions. We lived there and you can do an album in five-six weeks that way. I got this cold and it would not go away. I managed to put down vocals for one song in Stockholm but I still felt less than good. The next move was to go to Atlanta and it still did not work for me which was very disappointing for me, so I came home feeling pretty low. Later, we talked about the situation with our record label and they thankfully decided to give us more money because they were so impressed with what we had done so far. So they told me to take it easy for a while. It felt good that they gave me that chance.

You are now signed to CBS in America, so everything is handled from over there now?

– Yes, every little detail really, right down to cover design and getting it all ready to go. I eventually recorded the vocals in San Francisco so I had to travel far and wide for this record to get it done.

How will CBS back you up?

– We are going to do some videos by the looks of it, and we are very pleased about that. CBS in Sweden used to let everybody make videos, but it ended up being very expensive.

Have you worked on your voice in some way?

– Yes, I have done some work with a voice coach. Then I recorded 10 tracks in 10 days in San Francisco. I guess something like this had to happen at some point after all the touring. You spend 90 minutes every night on stage and it can eventually get to you.

How do you feel right after a concert?

– A bit hoarse of course, but that is only natural and it will always be that way. There are times when one needs to hold back a bit because it is easy to get a bit carried away when there is an enthusiastic crowd out front. You can imagine the excitement.

I guess you can not wait to take the new album out there to the international stages now?

– Oh, yes. They really want us in Germany and Holland and we have word from Japan that they want us over there. It is a bit strange because we have told the American office that we are ready to come over whenever they say so but here we are booking stuff over here. It goes without saying that we are very interested in the American market.

Is “Carrie” going to be the single in America?

– Not the first, I think. They initially talked about “Rock The Night” but when they heard “The Final Countdown” they moved their focus to that song. But those are the three top choices for singles as far as they are concerned.

So what are the plans now? Do you already know when the next album will be recorded?

– No, we have no idea about that. All we want to do now is to be ready to do all the work that will come our way so that we can promote this record. I will produce Tone Norum in June.

Do you ever feel overworked?

– It has been pretty tough now for a while, but it still feels good. I guess I am at my creative peak right now.

Suppose you got offered an eight month tour, would you hesitate to take that on?

– No, I think we would be able to handle that. We are not party animals, we never drink before a show.

You speak from personal experience?

– Yes, I remember the very first tour that we did, everything was just one big party. But you learn from these things. We are more mature now, we understand that this is a job and we need to be focused so that we can deliver our very best.


About the early party days…

– John and I had a competition on the the first tour, to see who could pull the most women. It was nuts.


Europe is the most popular hard rock band in Sweden right now with over 80,000 copies sold of “The Final Countdown”. Another hit single and we could be looking at a Platinum album here. Then observe that few would ever reach Gold (50,000) in this country in this genre due to the stupid lack of interest from TV and radio. I think Europe are at the absolute peak of their career here at this very moment. It will be hard even for them to top this. “The Final Countdown” is a nice type of hard rock, influenced by bands such as Whitesnake, UFO, Foreigner and latter day Rainbow. It is the clean cut and professional hard rock that is being delivered here and the competition only exists on the international level. And it holds up well, few bands can compete with this lot right now. I have said it before and I will say it again, the sophisticated hard rock will hardly die when the old bands are gone. Bands like Icon, Coney Hatch, Accept, 220 Volt, Pretty Maids, Rising Force and Europe will see to that.

Michael Eriksson 1986 / Trinkelbonker 2020 (If you quote this in a book or whatever, do give proper credit)

I have enjoyed the Deep Purple Podcast for nearly a year now and as Nathan Beaudry and John Mottola upload Episode 50 today (dealing with the California Jam concert that took place on this day back in 1974), I figured it would be nice to celebrate the show on Trinkelbonker with an interview. So we prepared this for April 6 and here it is. Enjoy!

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The first episode of the Deep Purple Podcast appeared on YouTube on April 29 2019 and was titled ”Where Fans Begin”. I rewatched it recently to get the original vibe and you can see the original intent and how much you have progressed since then. How do you look back on the initial first few episodes now?

Nathan / – ”I cringe a little bit as I haven’t listened to the first episodes (or any episodes really) since recording them. What I do generally is to listen to the show every week when it comes out and just make some mental notes for little audio tweaks for the next episode. The most common feedback we get, if people start with the first episode, is that the music is too quiet in parts. Since then I’ve put in noise gates, and compressors to raise the music when we aren’t talking and duck the levels when we are. The YouTube feed, unfortunately, does not benefit from this as it’s just a straight video feed of our conference call.  It’s really just a byproduct of the audio recording. One thing is sure, it’s a much better audio experience a year in”.

John / – ”Honestly, I haven’t listened to or looked back on the first episodes since we recorded them! But I know that we’ve progressed a lot since then with our audio quality, our format and how comfortable we are doing a podcast, since neither of us had ever done a podcast before”.

You explained in the first episode how you discovered Deep Purple in the 1980s and how you begun to dive into the history. Can you repeat here for the sake of the readers of this blog how you discovered the Deep Purple Family?

Nathan / – ”I was given a copy of “Jesus Christ Superstar” by my friend’s mother. My initial reaction was sort of, “What the heck is this?”. This coincided with a local theater putting on a production which we all went to. The second I heard that riff in the Overture (foreshadowing “Heaven On Their Minds” I was hooked. It became a huge album for me. I wore my cassette copy out and when I learned that the guy who played Jesus had a band, I just had to check it out”.

John / – ”When I was growing up in the 80s and 90s, I really fell in love with all of the 60s and 70s rock: Kiss, Black Sabbath, all of that kind of stuff. I also got into reading a lot of magazines: Circus, Hit Parader, publications like that… And it was inevitable that Deep Purple would come up on my radar with those other bands. I finally got the cassette for ”Deepest Purple”, a compilation, and it blew me away… And from there I started down the rabbit hole of finding out all the other connections the great musicians we love today had to this band”.

You guys did what nobody had done when you created a Podcast for fans of the Deep Purple Family. How long were you thinking about it before taking action?

Nathan / – ”I had been thinking about it since the early 90s, which is odd since there were no podcasts yet. My original thought was a radio show just diving into all the various extended family bands and related acts. As I began digging certain musicians related to the band (Eddie Hardin, Tony Ashton, John Gustafson) it struck me that the possibilities were endless.  After well over a decade of listening to podcasts I started doing some listening to some music podcasts and began searching for one on Deep Purple. I was shocked to see that there wasn’t one so I told John we should start one ourselves”.

John / – ”I know that Nate had been thinking about it for a long time! We had been talking to each other on and off for several years before the podcast became a reality, and one night we started texting each other over A Facebook Post I sent him or something like that, because we would still send each other Memes and links about music and Deep Purple in particular. And Nate started talking about the Deep Purple Family and how we should do a podcast about Deep Purple, and I laughed and said yeah that would be something else, wouldn’t it? And a couple of hours later, he texted me and said that he had purchased the domain name for the purple podcast lol and so the show was born!”.

The episodes are uploaded on several platforms, how has the response on these been?

Nathan / – ”Beyond anything I would have imagined. YouTube, as I said, is just a byproduct of the audio recording. We don’t get a ton of views but we do get a lot of comments and great discussion. The audio podcast gets tons more traffic. Then we post these links across Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. It’s cool how there are different groups that comment on each platform, and that’s why we do it. Different people prefer different methods of participating in the discussion so we want to be there for all of them”.

John / – ”Well, Nate is really the one that monitors all that stuff closely, but from all of our discussions I know that our most successful platform has been on Apple Podcasts, which has been really awesome to watch that grow”.

Do you think that some of the guys from the Deep Purple Family are checking out episodes they may be a part of?

Nathan / – ”Ha. I doubt it. None of the members in the current lineup are very active on social media. Gillan has a Twitter that he hasn’t seem to update since about 2014. Morse and Airey are very occasional posters. Coverdale and Hughes are extremely active and, while I’m sure they haven’t listened, they have both been gracious enough to comment, reply, and answer our questions fairly regularly. Honestly, that was something I never would have imagined and it’s been quite a thrill”.

John / – ”I would really like to think so! We’ve had some interaction over Twitter with Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale, and it’s nice to think that one or both of them may have listened to an episode or two. Even the thought of it is a thrill!”.

Do you have any favorite episodes so far?

Nathan / – ”I feel some of the episodes I worried about the most, such as Jon Lord’s “Windows” are often my favorite. The series on ”The Butterfly Ball” was also a favorite mostly because it was so fun to research and it’s one of my favorite parts of the extended family”.

John / – ”I really enjoyed tackling ”The Butterfly Ball” in multiple episodes. Nate does all of the research for the show, so it was actually fun to learn some new things that I didn’t even know about the album, the movie, and the people involved. I also really loved doing the Rainbow ”Rising” episode, just because I love any excuse to listen to and talk about that album! The Christmas Special and the Coverdale tweets episodes are also a couple of my favorites, because we experimented with doing a different format than just reviewing an album song by song”.

Watching you guys is good fun so I prefer the YouTube platform. They are sometimes removing content which is very sad. How do you feel about that sort of thing?

Nathan / – ”Well, ultimately the music we’re reviewing is copyrighted and the companies that own those rights can do whatever they want. My feeling is that we are talking over the music and offering a critique so that should be allowed. Some of these albums are 40-50 years old and extremely obscure. I’ve been contacted numerous times about kindling interest with people about albums they’d never even heard of after listening to our show. At the end of the day I guess it doesn’t matter what I think”.

John / – ”It’s kind of annoying, especially since Nate always loves to point out that full versions of an album are readily available and uploaded on YouTube, but our version of us talking over it gets banned! It’s pretty ridiculous actually, but who knows how their algorithms work?”.

You have done the 1968-1976 period of Deep Purple, only leaving out the odd live album that has come out after the split. Then you have gone through some of the early solo material and branched out to episodes that cover certain episodes of historic interest. You could obviously do 500 episodes no problem as far as albums and history is concerned. It is hard work too and I find that one has to really love a hobby to invest this sort of effort into it. I can sense that you guys love it.

Nathan / – ”Absolutely. It started as me and John talking about Deep Purple remotely and then thinking that maybe some people may have some interest in what we’re talking about. We agreed that even if no one listened it would be great to set a time each week to talk about the music we love. The fact that so many people are also interested is a bonus”.

John / – ”It has been a lot of fun to go back and revisit this period of the band and really dig into a lot of history about the people, break down the songs and the musicianship, and so on. It’s not work at all if you really love what you’re talking about. But, to be completely fair, all of the heavy lifting credit goes to Nate. He’s the one that researches, edits the episodes, uploads them, takes our pictures and edits them into the thumbnails for the episodes… I just clock in and give my two cents”.

I love that you can suddenly dedicate a full episode to Tweets from David Coverdale. And the Christmas episode was great.

Nathan / – ”Thanks so much! The Coverdale Tweets was a little divisive. Whenever we do something visual there’s a small number of listeners that find it hard to follow. That’s kind of why we did it during the slow holiday weeks. That way people had the option to skip if they weren’t interested”.

John / – ”Those were such fun episodes to do, especially the Coverdale tweets. There was a point where Nate and I would text each other multiple times a day, just tweets that Coverdale had sent out that day and we would be rolling on the floor laughing! And at one point we thought, how could we turn this into an episode? Because this is too good to keep to ourselves!”.

I predict you will be presenting interviews with key members before we know it. You have cemented a good foundation here and I think they can see it. Have you tried to contact Deep Purple or ex-members?

Nathan / – ”I hope your prediction is true! The only member I made an effort to contact was Roger Glover. I really wanted to interview him for our ”Butterfly Ball” episodes. Unfortunately it just went nowhere. Wasn’t really sure where to even start. It would be great to talk to him, or any of the other members some day. If it happens, great. If not, so be it”.

John / – ”Again, all of that credit goes to Nate. He has been successful in contacting some members of the Deep Purple family and establishing relationships with them, and we are hoping that sometime in the future an actual member of the band could be a special guest on the show, which would be an unbelievable thrill”.

I would think that dedicating some time to help guys like you right now would make a lot of sense for artists, as things stand. We have a new Deep Purple album coming up and this will be the first major release that you can review in real time as it happens. I think that episode might be the one that powers the podcast to the next level. Any thoughts on that?

Nathan / – ”That would be great. The plan is to record our real time reactions/review of the album and release that episode on June 12th, the day the album releases (the album release has been postponed to August as I post this, Mike). Of course that’s a little strange since we haven’t even covered “Perfect Strangers” yet. However, this is the first truly major development in Deep Purple news since the show started so I think it’s appropriate that we tackle it in real time”.

John / – ”I think what helped the show grow and gain a following is the fact that we are still the only podcast dedicated to Deep Purple and the Deep Purple family. And I’d like to think that people can hear that we put a lot of thought and effort into these episodes and that we treat it as a job that we take great pride in. However, neither one of us got into this for anything other than wanting to talk about and bring awareness to one of our favorite bands, and getting some kind of notoriety from acquiring more listeners or the band itself would be a huge thrill and accomplishment”.

You also have artists that love Purple, like Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Lukather etc etc. I think you could probably get to interview some guys like that as well because if you are a fan it does not matter who you are, you will enjoy that stuff. Maybe Johnnie Bolin can have a chat with you around Record Store Day? I think doors will open for you guys.

Nathan / – ”It’s hard to think of ourselves being “important” enough for such interviews. That being said, we’re interested to talk with anyone that loves Deep Purple or who has been involved with the band”.

John / – ”Nate and I were just talking about this; this podcast has opened more doors for us than we ever thought possible. This morning we had a string of tweets that were liked by Glenn Hughes himself! It’s just amazing to think about how these guys, whose music we’ve loved and that we’ve idolized for so long, actually notice what we’re doing and talking about!”.

Can you mention a few Podcasts out there that you guys enjoy?

Nathan / – ”Pod of Thunder is my new favorite. John is a huge Kiss fan but the band never really resonated with me growing up and I always kind of wrote them off. Since discovering the show I have a newfound appreciation for Kiss. But those guys could talk about anything and I’d want to listen. They’re great. Sabbath Bloody Podcast and Skynyrd Reconsydyrd are also great and in our little makeshift podcast network. And those guys are just great and have really helped get our name out there”.

John / – ”My favorite band of all time is Kiss, so a lot of the podcasts that I listen to are Kiss related: Pod of Thunder, the Kiss FAQ podcast and Shout It Out Loudcast are my favorites. I also enjoy the Eddie Trunk Podcast for general rock news and interviews. I actually just got into the Johnny Carson show podcast, which is basically audio of some of the famous interviews from his show. I love the classic era of comedy, and old-school comedians like that, so that’s really enjoyable for me to listen to outside of the music podcasts that I’m usually into”.

Outside of the Purple Family, what have you enjoyed listening to in the last few years?

Nathan / – ”I grew up on hard rock/heavy metal and really branched out from there. As far as newer music in 2013 or so I really started getting into Vulfpeck who are just incredible. A group of four young guys just producing incredible music. Great songwriters and they collaborate with some truly incredible musicians”.

John / – ”As I just mentioned, Kiss is my favorite band of all time, so I still listen to them pretty regularly along with the artists in the Kiss Family although they aren’t nearly as many as the artists in the Deep Purple Family! Other bands I enjoy in no particular order: Cinderella, Bulletboys, Ratt, Queen, Alice Cooper, King’s X, Jake E Lee’s Red Dragon Cartel, just to name a few off the top of my head. I’m sure I forgot a whole bunch, but that’s who’s been in my rotation lately”.

Are you collecting LPs, new or old?

Nathan / – ”Not really. I have a collection of records I inherited from my father and father-in-law but I’ve never really been much of a vinyl guy. I lived in a tiny New York apartment for a decade so I got used to ripping and storing CDs and have an extensive digital collection. Since moving I have my old CDs back and have purchased quite a few Deep Purple related CDs for use for the show”.

John / – ”I used to be a pretty huge collector, I would scour record stores, the Salvation Army, flea markets and buy everything I could get my hands on… And I still have all of those old records, but my collecting days have really slowed down since I was a kid. I just bought a turntable last year so I could listen to all of my old records and I’ve gotten back into it a little bit. I did go to a record show last year, and I went out for Record Store Day for the first time last year and it was fun to pick up a few things: a few old 80s metal LPs, an Ace Frehley record store day exclusive, things like that”.

I understand that you have been in bands, what type of music are we talking about?

Nathan / – ”We were in a band together called Tricky Dick where we recorded metal-style stuff. Apart from that I played in several bands over the years ranging from metal to rock to more pop stuff”.

John / – ”I’m a guitar player and I’ve always been into straightahead rock/metal, so those are the types of bands that I was in, mostly with my best friend, Eric. When I would play music with Nate, it was still rock and he’d add horns and keyboards and it was definitely a different style for me but I enjoyed doing something different. I had another friend, Neil, who brought me into a really experimental direction. We did a lot of recording on a four track and would experiment with all sorts of weird sounds, drum machines, synth sounds, crazy vocals. It was a fun time”.

The longevity of Purple is amazing. I think you guys are doing it all justice and you are now part of a collective that is keeping the Legacy alive. I thank you for that. Good luck with the next 50 episodes.

Nathan / – ”Thank you so much! It’s been a really fun ride and I’m just happy that anyone out there is finding some enjoyment in it, particularly someone of your credentials!”.

John / – ”Thank you so much. I think that Nate and I are of the mindset as many other podcasters are: we’re not experts, we’re just a couple of friends who are fans of this band we love that has such a rich legacy and history and all we wanna do is talk about it! And it’s been great because we’ve had people write in to us saying that they got into the band because of our show or they’ve heard us discuss bands or albums that they’ve never heard of before and they really enjoy them or longtime fans who listen to our perspective and suddenly they get a new perspective that they’ve never had before, and that’s really rewarding to think that we had something to do with that”.

(End of interview – Top image courtesy of the Deep Purple Podcast, Deep Purple 1975 shot is official EMI Sweden promotion for media)

By Michael Eriksson (Trinkelbonker 2020)

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As of today, you can find the following interviews on this blog. Enjoy!

KIMBERLY GOSS/SINERGY 2002 (March 31 2020), RAINBOW 1997 (March 9 2020), RAINBOW 1996 (March 6 2020), MICHAEL BRADFORD 2003/MAKING OF DEEP PURPLE´S “BANANAS” (March 2 2020), URIAH HEEP 1988 (February 18 2020), ANNE-LIE RYDÉ 1984 (January 21 2020), CRYSTAL VIPER 2020 (January 16 2020), JOHN NORUM 1988 (January 12 2020), ARTOMUS FRIENDSHIP 2019 (November 10 2019), NAZARETH 1989 (August 26 2019), VELVET INSANE 2018 (September 11 2018), JON LORD 1981 (December 15 2015), DAVID COVERDALE 1981 (November 13 2015), GLENN HUGHES 1996 (May 12 2015), TOTO 1988 (March 31 2015), YNGWIE MALMSTEEN 1990 (March 1 2015), MARTINA EDOFF 2009 (December 4 2014), MICHAEL MOJO NILSSON 2014 (January 21 2014), THE HUGHES TURNER PROJECT 2001 (December 29 2013), JOE LYNN TURNER 1996-1998 (October 9 2013), GLENN HUGHES & JOHN NORUM 1988 (September 21 2013), JOE LYNN TURNER 1994-1995 (September 9 2013), JOE LYNN TURNER 1993 (September 7 2013), STEVE LUKATHER 1989 (September 4 2013), BLACK SABBATH 1983 (August 22 2013), RAINBOW 1995 (July 19 2013), GILLAN 1982 (June 11 2013), DEEP PURPLE 2002 (May 2 2013), DEEP PURPLE 1998 ( February 25 2013), BLACK SABBATH 1986 (February 12 2013), BLACK SABBATH 1987-1989 (December 31 2012), JOHNNIE BOLIN 2012 (December 24 2012), MARTIN POPOFF & RICH GALBRAITH 2009 (November 12 2012), DAVID COVERDALE 2000 (October 14 2012), JON LORD 1984 (September 7 2012), JOE LYNN TURNER 1992 (August 31 2012), JUDAS PRIEST 1986 (August 22 2012), RONNIE JAMES DIO 2001 (August 20 2012), NIGHTWISH 2002 (August 14 2012).

This interview with Sinergy vocalist Kimberly Goss was made for my Lucy Lawless magazine LUCY IN THE SKY (issue 5). Obviously, she put a lot of energy into this e-mail interview (it arrived in mid-August 2002) and I thought that surely it would be a good addition to Trinkelbonker to include it here in original form. Alexi, who is mentioned now and then, is her husband. For fans of Kimberly, Sinergy and Xena, this is a great interview – in fact, at the time she thought it was the best she had ever done! Enjoy!

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I have to confess that I know very little about you Kimberly, except that I took Sinergy to my heart when I heard the first album “Beware The Heavens” and realised as I got into it that, lo and behold, there´s a song called “The Warrior Princess” here! Which made you my hard rock warrior princess in a heartbeat. But tell me about yourself. Where were you born and so on?

– ”I was born in Los Angeles, California. My mother was working there at Korean Airlines where she met my father who is from Seoul, South Korea. My mother has blonde hair and green eyes believe it or not! Her grandparents come from Germany. So I’m ½ Korean, ½ German in blood, but 100% American in my heart! Anyway, in L.A. my mom was studying Japanese and also working two jobs on the side, one of which was singing on the weekends at a Japanese owned nightclub where she’d be singing in Japanese (that’s right, a blonde haired green eyed American girl singing in Japanese!). One night a man approached her with an offer to sing in Japan as a regular at a Japanese jazz & blues club (yes, sounds strange I know. *laughing*). They offered her and her daughter (me) a house to live in which would include our own cook, and a nanny to look after me. So she packed us up and we moved to Japan! I guess I should state that her and my father seperated before I was born. I’ve never met him actually. Anyway, we lived in Japan for one year right about the time I was learning to speak (Japanese was actually my first language). One year later we moved back to the states because my mom wanted to raise me in America. There was one small problem. I didn’t speak english though. I would be playing with all the kids in our building (we lived in sort of a “Melrose Place” style apartment building with a pool in the center, only it was a “ghetto” version *laughs*) and my mom felt sorry for me cuz no one understood what I was saying. So my mom taught me English (when you’re that young it’s easy to learn since your mind is so fresh, with very little information *laughs*). After having learned English I refused to speak Japanese with her. She’d try, but I’d cover my ears and sing some children’s songs to avoid listening. So now I only remember a few words in Japanese (and man do I regret it!), We (Sinergy) have many fans in Japan and when we’re on tour there I always kick myself for not having kept on speaking Japanese”.

Where do you live now and what nationality can we give to Sinergy as a band, if any?

– ”Well… maybe I should first continue with the previous Story before I tell you where I am now. So, when I was five years old my mom decided that she wanted me to be close to the rest of our family so she packed us up and we moved to Chicago (her birthplace and hometown). We were really poor (my mom was 20 when she had me) and at first we lived with my uncle and slept on the floor for two years. I remember when I was seven we finally got one single bed (the smallest kind) and I was so excited! My mom was working three jobs so I was tossed around from one babysitter to the next. We moved five times from the time I was 5-12 which also meant I went to five different schools. We finally settled in a very nice upper-middle class area (my mom finally got a great high paying job after all those years). This was right in time for my “rebellious” phase *poor mom*. I ran away from home all the time and quit school when I was 16 (but hardly ever went there for the two years prior to that). From 16-17 I moved all around the states with various friends. At 17 I moved to Oslo, Norway (we’ll get into that later) at 20 I moved to Gothenburg, Sweden, and at 21 I moved to Helsinki, Finland. This is where I’m currently living (and I sure as hell don’t plan to move anytime soon *exhausted*). I’m now 24 years old. The rest of the band consists of three Finns and our lovely new bass goddess MELANIE SISNEROS from the U.S. of friggin A.! She is a delightful addition, because not only is it nice to have a fellow american in the band (we can have inside jokes only us Yanks understand and talk about our youth in america, and share in our homesickness ect…), but it’s a bonus that she’s a woman! I’ve longed to have another real metal chica in this band and my wishes are finally a reality! However, since this is a Swedish Lucy Lawless magazine-interview I should point out that on our first album we had three talented Swedish guys as a part of our original line up. Myself and Alexi are the only originals left in the band”.

You turned to music at some point in your life, can you remember what it was that gave you the initial spark to engulf yourself in that? And how old were you?

– ”My entire family was very musical. As I said, my mom was singing blues/jazz for some time. My uncles were in a rock band in the 70s. My mom’s cousin played in a rock band called Off Broadway which was actually signed to Atlantic Records, but after two albums with poor sales they were dropped. They toured with Cheap Trick and UFO among others though. My grandmother was an opera singer and classical pianist. I think I’m the only one in our family who has ever made a steady living off of music alone though which I think is pretty cool”.

Name a few artists that you think inspired you in one way or another and why?

– “I’ll try to name some that your reader’s will be familiar with *laughs*. As far as vocalists I’d have to say Pat Benatar and Billy Idol have influenced me a great deal, though I guess with our new album I’m singing more aggressively than they did. They both have such great style. A bit rough around the edges, lots of power and attitude. Even a little bluesy at times. Most of all, I’ve been into metal music my whole life. Anything from mainstream 80s heavy metal to extreme underground death & black metal of the 90s. I’m not used to doing interviews with non-music related magazines so I just assume many of your reader’s probably won’t understand one brand of metal from the next, but believe me when I say I think metal musicians are probably the most talented players in the world”.

I love your hair. How long have you sported this look and is it natural black?

– ”I’ve been sitting on my hair for as long as I can remember now! It is naturally black, but lately I’ve been putting in some red highlights and lightening it”.

It reminds me of Morticia in the Addams family, and I got to tell you, when I saw that tv show back in 1970 (when I was nine years old) I quickly developed a serious crush on her. So here´s a silly question, but do you have an opinion about that character at all? Is she in there in the mix somewhere as well or is that just me ranting in the wrong direction?

– *laughing* ”Yes my dear, I’m afraid you’re ranting in the wrong direction. I was a fan of The Munsters though. I don’t know if you ever got that show in Sweden, but it was sort of like a funnier version of The Addam’s Family. Anyway, my look is just me. It wasn’t inspired by anyone. It’s who I am and how I feel comfortable”.

What bands have you been in and which have you recorded with?

– ”My first band from Chicago was called Avernus. I sang clean backing vocals to contrast our lead death metal singer. Then I joined a Norwegian black metal band called Ancient to play keyboards and provide backing vocals. From there I found myself in demand as a touring keyboardist for bands like Therion (Sweden), Dimmu Borgir (Norway) & Children Of Bodom (Finland). I’ve recorded several albums as a guest vocalist or keyboardist with various bands (Warmen, Eternal Tears Of Sorrow, Exhumation, To/Die/For, ect…) besides the three Sinergy records we currently have released”.

Tell me about Sinergy as a group. Is it your band or is it a democracy kind of thing?

– ”Well, even a democracy needs a leader. I am definetely the leader of this band. I negotiate all contracts, I have all the contact with the booking agents for tour planning, I set up recording sessions, photo shoots, I do the layout of each album together with an artist, I come up with our t-shirt designs, I do all the interviews, I write 100% of the lyrics and 25% of the music, I’m tour managing on any of our tours that are less than two weeks (the longer tours are managed by someone else, or else I’d die!), and the list goes on forever! I consider myself to kinda be the mother of the band”.

You are obviously responsible for the lyrics, do you contribute more than that and if so how does it work?

– ”As stated in the previous answer I write approx. 25% of the music. I usually am the first one in the band to come up with any new riffs if it’s time to start writing a new album. Then I show them to Alexi on keyboard, and then he’ll show the other guys on guitar. I write most of my riffs on the keyboard, but I have written a few riffs on guitar as well as just using my voice to sing into a little tape recorder. I always point out which riff is meant for guitar and which is meant as a vocal melody”.

Do you play any instruments and have you had some musical schooling at some point in your life? Or are you self tought, so to speak?

– ”The only training I’ve ever had was to play the French Horn in my elementary school orchestra. Other than that I’m self taught on the keyboards and vocals”.

Are you one of these people that started writing poetry and little things in diary form only to understand that “hey, I could do this within a song” later on?

– ”Not at all. In fact, the first Sinergy album was the first time I had to write full length lyrics (I did bits and pieces before in my first band). Looking back on the first album, I’m quite embarrassed at reading those lyrics. I didn’t have a clue what to write about, so I mostly sang about fictional subjects. As time went on, my lyrics have greatly improved. I write now more on factual subjects dealing with feelings I have about myself and the world I live in. I’ve found this to be some sort of cheap therapy. It’s great to let out all your bad feelings that you have trapped inside yourself. Of course on our latest CD I did make room for one song about XENA!”.

I only ask because to me a lot of your lyrics are like poetry. You have a real talent for what you are doing. What is the best compliment that you have ever recieved as a lyricist?

– ”Well thank you! The best compliment I’ve ever received was from a German girl who told me that my lyrics on our latest album, “Suicide By My Side” actually saved her life. She told me she was on the verge of suicide before reading those lyrics. She said that reading those lyrics made her feel like she had someone to relate to and that her world didn’t seem so lonely anymore. That’s the best compliment I could ever get! A lot of journalists have asked me if I’m afraid the fans will get the wrong message and take these lyrics as a suggestion to kill themselves. I know that our fans are smarter than that! This album deals with real human suffering. Real pain and tragic emotions. When someone is really depressed, the last thing they want to hear is a song like “Shiny Happy People Holding Hands” by R.E.M. *laughs*. People want to hear something that relates to their mood”.

How do you rate the Sinergy albums? I know you are close to the last one right now but how do you feel about the first two looking back?

– ”I can’t even listen to our first album anymore. I think my vocals are really powerless if you compare it to our latest CD. Of course I’m proud of it in one way, cuz that’s what launched our career, but I think any musician will tell you they can’t listen to their first album anymore. The point is to get better through time and experience. That’s what I feel we’ve done looking back from “Beware The Heavens” onward to “To Hell And Back” and now with “Suicide By My Side”. We’re much tighter and stronger now as a band and I think you can hear the difference”.

Does inspiration come easy or is it hard work against deadlines sometimes? Is it all worked out well before hitting the studios?

– ”So far we’ve been lucky and haven’t had any pressure from the record label for any certain deadline. The most difficult thing is to schedule the recordings around the other band members private schedules. Once the studio dates are set, it is quite easy to write the music. I’m lucky to have really talented guys in this band. They all put something in as far as the songwriting goes”.

Your new album “Suicide By My Side” is very dark. I would say that this is dark poetry right through the album almost, dealing with a theme that isn´t very pretty. Why did you chose this concept on this album, why is this particular album so dark?

– ”It’s beacuse of the things I was going through at that particular time in my life. I was very depressed and extremely suicidal. If I didn’t get all that negativity off my chest, I might not be here today. It wasn’t really any one single event that triggered these emotions. It was a number of things happening all around the same time period. It seemed like my whole world was crashing down. I don’t want to go into specifics, but it was a really hard time in my life and I felt completely alone. It seemed like the world would be a better place without me. I know this is heavy, and some people might think reading this that, “She has it made! What’s she complaining about?”. All I have to say is without knowing what I went through, you can never understand. You can try to read between the lines of my lyrics and come up with your own conclusion”.

It could be controversial, do you recall the american lawsuits agaist Judas Priest and Ozzy Osbourne a decade ago?

– ”Yes, I do. We’re not as famous as Ozzy or Priest though, that would never happen to us”.

The Xena related song is, naturally, very interesting. You take on the part as Xena in it, relating to other characters from the “Sin Trade” episodes from season 4.

– ”Yes. I already did a song on our first album called, “The Warrior Princess” and naturally many non-Xena fans could plainly see the song was about her and the show since I mention her name in the lyrics. A lot of our non-Xena fans complained that the song was cheezy and silly. I didn’t care, and we still play that song live to this very day! In this case I wanted to make a special song just for Sinergy Xenites! I don’t mention Xena, Gabby or any of the obvious characters in the show. This song is written FOR Xenites BY a Xenite!”.

Do you remember the moment when the idea to write this lyric came up?

– ”Yes!!!!! Right after watching the two part episode! It was the most intense episode I’d ever seen at the time. I immediately fell head over heels for Alti’s character. I loved the darkness that surrounded the characters and the storyline. I knew I had to write a song about it. Lucy’s acting is simply perfect! She made me feel things I’ve never felt before. She is extremely underrated as an actor. She should be winning Oscars for cryin’ out loud! She has showed us through the six seasons every kind of emotion and made us believe that every situation she was put in was REALLY happening!”.

How long did it take you to write it?

– ”It took awhile actually. I had to watch the episode several times. I also took some lines directly from it and used them in the lyrics to that song! I wanted to tell the story correctly, but at the same time making sure that each specific lyric would fit to each riff in the song”.

The lyric is, like Xenas battle, about good versus evil and how the dark forces are battled successfully in the end. That is a contrast to the rest of the lyrics.

– ”Very true, but my answer is always, “Hey, there is only so many ways to sing about how depressed you are and how much you wanna die”. I didn’t wanna repeat myself lyrically, so I had to have a couple of songs unrelated to the main theme of the album”.

How highly do you rate these Xena episodes?

– ”They’re definetely in my top 10 for sure! They also include one of my all time favorite fight scenes with Xena and Cyane fighting in the trees. WOWOWOWOW! That scene is absolutely breathtaking! And it’s also the introduction of my second favorite character (Alti) in the series. Alti is such a bad ass! She´s one of the bad guys you LOVE, ya know what I mean?”.

Lets talk about your love for the show then, which we all share. Do you recall exactly how and when you first saw Xena?

– ”I watched Hercules first cuz I was really interested in Greek mythology when I was in school. I saw the episodes where Xena premiered, and then heard about her starting her own series. I watched it from day one! Unfortunately, I moved to Norway (well not so unfortunately actually *laughs*) towards the end of season one and the show hadn’t made it to Europe yet. I spoke of Xena for at least two years before it premiered in Norway. When I moved to Sweden and they had Xena & Hercules on back to back every (Sunday was it? – Yep, MIKE). Me and my roommate would stock up on treats and snacks and watch them both together. It was so much fun!”.

Do you know what it was that attracted you to the show initially?

– ”Bad ass chicks kicking some serious butt! That was it for sure! Lucy is such a strong woman, yet very sexy at the same time. She is so believable as a warrior woman. Not some Buffy bimbo (Yuck! Buffy is sooooooo lame!). I fell in love with Xena from day one, but absolutely HATED Gabby at first. It took about five episodes before I started to accept Gabby on the show. At first I was hoping they’d get enough complaints to throw her off the show. Well, seeing as the show developed I’m soooooooo glad they kept her. Renee is also a wonderful actor and should also be up there winning Oscars right along with Lucy. I mean, someone who annoyed me so much in the beginning, and then made me turn my feelings around about her 100% must have amazing acting skills!”.

How long did it take you to become a Xenite?

– ”I was officially a Xenite after the episode “Callisto”. This was the last episode I saw before moving to Norway. I was begging my mom to tape me all episodes and send them over to Norway, but of course she forgot *laughs*. That episode made me scream! I had never seen anything like it before. Two very strong, sexy women showing us what they’re made of! That was also the first episode Joxer premiered in (another guy I grew to love after inital disgust for his character *laughs*). Now I’m such a Xenite, that I even have the word tattooed on the back of my neck! Also, I collect anything and everything Xena related. I have all six seasons on VHS & most of them on DVD (they’re not all available on DVD as I write this interview). It’s funny, cuz the ONLY shop that carries the Xena DVD box sets here in Finland actually has my phone number and they call me whenever a new box is released. *hahahaha*”.

Would you agree that the show has a tremendous energy – something that is very positive if you discover it and kind of get into it. It brings me a sense of happiness that took me a bit by surprise. Was it the same for you? Can you relate to that?

– ”Absolutely! Xena is like a drug for me. It gets me so high! I have cried, laughed, been angered, frustrated, happy, and felt tremendous love from watching the show. It brings out the child in me. Sometimes I watch it screaming, “Hell yea! Kick that warlord ass Xena!”. Other times I sit holding the pillow tightly in suspense. The thing I love the most about the show is the undying love between Xena and Gabby. In a way it almost makes me sad because I feel like I have never experienced a love like that with another woman. Most of my friends are male, and it’s just not the same. I envy their relationship and I’m longing to have one as strong as theirs. I also love the evolution the show had made through the years. I love how they mix Xena in with Greek, Norse, Roman, Christian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, ect… mythologies. It’s so cool! Sorta like a “What if…”. Know what I mean? Like, “What if Xena had been there!” *woooooo hooooo!!!!* It’s brilliant!”.

The buzz is that you are out there on the internet. What do you enjoy to do to get your “Xena fix” when you go online?

– ”I have the following sites bookmarked on my pc: Amphipolis Village, Aphrodite’s, The Xena Zone, Xenaville, Whoosh!, Xena Fight,, ect… I have many many more! I write on two Xena messageboards as well. I’m a total geek!”.

Do you have any favourite homepages?

– ”I really can’t answer that. I find them all interesting”.

Given the time, would you consider to create a Xena site yourself and if so, what kind of a twist do you think that you would like to give it?

– ”That’s a hard question. If I made a Xena site it would be a Xena site related to me and my obsession with the show. I’d include convention reports, pics of me with the actors I’ve met, list my collection of Xena collectables, show off my current Xenite tattoo, and also the chakram tattoos I plan to get in the future! I’d give my reviews on my favorite episodes, and also about the ones I didn’t like as much (that list is VERY short though). You get the point”.

Do you enjoy the different angles in the Xena episodes, that humour can be there one week and Greek drama the next? Or would you personally have dropped something?

– ”This is one of the brilliant points to the show! I hate when I speak to people who’ve only seen like 5 episodes and base their opinion of the show on that. Usually they complain about Joxer, or the modern language they use, ect… I always say to people, “You MUST see EVERY episode from start to finish in order to watch the evolution of the characters and all the diversity displayed from one episode to the next!”. I actually have a ritual where I fall asleep to old Xena epsiodes every night. I choose the one that best fits my mood, and there is ALWAYS an ep that can portray whatever mood I’m in at the time. It’s amazing! As for the comedic eps, my all time favorites are “The quill is mightier….”, “A Comedy Of Eros”, and the BEST: “Old Ares Had A Farm”!!! HAHAHAHA! They rule!”.

“The Bitter Suite” is in my opinion a fantastic episode, and I usually want to leave the room when a musical is on. What do you think of that episode?

– ”It’s AWESOME!!!!!!!!! I was very skeptical about it at first, being that I’m a singer and I LOVE musicals like Jesus Christ Superstar, Joeseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, ect…… When I saw the “The Bitter Suite” I was so scared that it would just change my whole opinion of the show. Well, it just made me love it even more!!!!!! It’s one thing to act, and it’s another thing to sing…, but to ACT & SING at the same time really requires talent. I was especially impressed by Renee because she doesn’t actually sing on the soundtrack, but her lips were in sync and her acting was very convincing. Lucy’s voice just blew me away as did our beloved Kevin Smith (R.I.P.). I had no idea prior to that on how great their voices were! I actually do my own one-woman version of “The Bitter Suite” at home all the time! I can sing every line and I attempt to act out the parts too *hahahaha*”.

Have you bought the six Xena soundtrack albums?

– ”Of course! It’s great music to make love to”.

Personally I can´t wait to get my hands on a record that says “Lucy Lawless” on the label, how do you rate her as a singer?

– ”I think she’s great! She has a deep voice, which I LOVE on women. It’s really sexy. She sings with so much emotion. I believe she could sing any style of music if she wanted to”.

Did you see her in “Grease” in her Broadway stint back in 1997?

– ”No, I had already moved to Norway by then”.

Have you been to any conventions?

– ”YES!!!!!!!!! Only one so far. It was October, 2001 in Dearborn Michigan, USA. It featured Hudson Leick and Kevin Smith. I was so fortunate to meet Kevin before his tragic passing. Hudson was sooooo funny! She’s really quite a character off screen too! She invited me along with several other fans on stage with her to do her infamous battle scream. I was shaking! Can you believe that? I’m so used to signing autographs for my own fans, and I never could understand why people get nervous around me. Meeting Kevin and Hudson made me realize what it is to be a fan meeting your idols! It was such a great time. I plan to go to the Pasadena con in 2003”.

Lets talk about your collection (as a Xenite I know you have one!), what have you gathered over the last few years?

– ”As I write this interview I can say I have all DVD box sets which have been released until now, as well as VHS box sets. I have several books, comics, posters postcards, calendars, trading cards and magazines. I have the Xena board game (which I still can’t figure out how to play???), Xena playstation game, Ares doll signed still in the box signed by Kevin Smith, fan club kits, all three limited cereal boxes (unopened), Xena candle holder, replicas of Xena’s gauntlets, 2 plastic Xena swords *lol*, Xena miniature doll, Xena wall clock, etc… but my favorite item is my CHAKRAM!!!!!!! I bought the newer version of the Chakram made by the propmasters from the show! It’s limited to 500! It’s cool to look on the back of it cuz it has “Made in New Zealand” engraved into it! I’m still collecting more stuff all the time”.

Did you buy anything on last years big sales craze when they auctioned off stuff from the show on the internet?

– ”No. Maybe I was on tour or something, cuz I don’t think I even knew about it”.

What is your favourite Xena item if you had to pick one?

– ”The CHAKRAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No question about it!”.

Have you played the Xena PlayStation game and if so how do you rate it?

– ”I’ve played it through three times. I’m a video game fanatic, so if it were the same game withtout the Xena characters, I’d give it a low rating. BUT… since it is Xena, I LOVE IT!!!!! *lol*”.

Did you know about this Lucy Lawless society before this? And that we wrote about Sinergy in the first issue?

– ”No, I had no idea! I think that’s awesome! I showed everyone in my band the first issue when you sent it to me. I was so excited!”.

About your Xena lyrics, have there been sketches to more of them than the ones that we have heard so far?

– ”Not yet, but you can be sure that I will write another Xena themed song on the next album. I just don’t know what yet. It has to fit with the music, ya know? There are sooooooo many eps that have really moved me, but since we’re a heavy metal band I assume I’ll write about one of the darker themed eps”.

Apart from this interview, how have the reaction to them been?

– ”Well the Sinergy fans who are also Xena fans LOVE these songs! The non-Xena fans of ours however think these lyrics are completely cheezy and ridiculous. I don’t care what they think though. If they hate it so much, don’t listen to it!”.

What does the rest of the band think about it?

– They laugh. They know my obsession with the show and they think it’s cool. None of them can write lyrics, so they don’t really have any say in the matter. These songs go over really well on stage though!”.

If you wrote a couple of new ones you could release a “Warrior Princess” mini CD, I can see hordes of Xenites running out to buy that one. I guess there could be a legal problem but what do you think of the concept?

– ”Hey! That’s actually a great idea!!!!!!!! I never thought about it. I will surely think about it and run that idea by our record company”.

You must know how they decided to end Xena in the final two episodes. I guess you could have an opinion regardless of wether you have seen them yet or not. Was it brave television or does it disturb you?

– ”Well, all good things usually come to an end. I personally LOVED the finale. I loved that it took place in Japan (a land we’ve never seen them journey too in previous eps), I loved that they only had Xena and Gab and all other characters were completely new and never been seen before on the show. I loved the storyline. I loved ALMOST everything! My only complaint is one of the last scenes when Xena and Gab were at the fountain. If I were to write it, it would’ve gone like this: Gab would have shown a LOT more emotion, begging and crying and screaming to Xena to please let her (Gab) bring her (Xena) back to life. Xena, would be trying to shake some sense into Gab saying, that “You’re not thinking about the bigger picture! The end result! You’d be responsible for thousands of souls never being redeemed!”, ect… Then Gabby would freak out and just throw the ashes into the fountain anyway, and Xena would catch the ashes just before they hit the fountain and at that EXACT moment the sun would set, making it impossible for Xena to come back anyway. THAT WOULD’VE BEEN AN AMAZING END TO THE SHOW!. I’m one of the few fans that is glad that they chose to kill Xena off. If she would’ve lived it would’ve left me feeling cheated out of new adventures. It was beautiful and this show was brilliant from start to finish!”.

Do you think that there will be a full blown Xena movie some day? Want to bet your money on a year even?

– ”I really hope not! Again, I think I differ from most Xena fans on this issue. I don’t think it would be possible to make a movie out of the show. Lets take the X-Files movie for instance. It was good, but only seemed to be a LONGER version of a regular episode. I don’t want to see that happen to Xena. Let her rest in peace”.

Has any other tv show ever got you as excited and involved?

– ”No, not at all! I collect all episodes of “Friends” just cuz it’s so damn funny, but I don’t collect merchandise or idolize any of their characters, ect…”.

Have you ever been to New Zealand and checked out the scenery?

– ”Not YET! I must stress the word YET! I will go there someday for sure! I already have found websites mapping out the different locations in which the show was filmed. I will go to them all!!!!!!!”.

I know wonderful people who love to dress up like Xena, have you ever gone for it in that way?

– ”Hahaha, no. I’ve never dressed up like her. I wouldn’t want to. There can only be one Xena!”.

Have you considered to use any of Joseph LoDucas music as an introduction tape for Sinergys performances?

– ”Already been done! In the past we’ve used the title theme to the show as an intro to the song “The Warrior Princess” and on our most recent tours we’ve been using “Xena Kicks Bacchae Butt” from the volume 2 soundtrack as our intro before we make our entrance to the stage! It’s VERY intense!”.

I just realised that the bands name, Sinergy, has “Sin” in it, like “Sin Trade”. Far fetched?

– ”Purely coincedence. We existed before that episode ever saw the light of day”.

Outside of Xena, if we talk fantasy briefly, what interests you in that field? Mention a few books or movies that you like.

– ”Well, I’ve always been interested in Greek mythology, which is one of the reasons I love the show so much. Honestly speaking, most of the books I’ve read in my life had nothing to do with fantasy. I mainly read books on behavioural sciences, forensics, true crime books on serial killers and mass murderers, FBI related books, ect… My first dream as a child was to be an FBI agent, to catch and profile serial killers. Kinda like Agent Starling from the movie, “Silence Of The Lambs”. As for Fantasy movies, I like Lord Of The Rings of course! My all time favorite movie though is “Moulin Rouge”!!!! I specifically went out and bought a new home theater system just for that DVD! *lol*”.

We all need to relax with a laugh or two, so outside of Joxer tripping over himself in Xena, what sitcoms do you enjoy to watch?

– ”Friends! That is the funniest show on the planet! I’m very much like Monica’s character. I’m an ultra picky neat freak and I love to cook”.

Do you have an interest in the paranormal? The unknown.

– ”Absolutely! I believe in everything. I even believe our apartment is haunted by a friendly ghost. When we first moved in the stove would always turn on by itself, doors opening when I KNOW they were shut tightly, ect… I even had a converstaion with the ghost after the first few weeks. I basically just talked to the air and said, “Hey, why can’t we live in peace together? You don’t have to try to run us out of here. We like this place. Let’s be friends, okay?” HAHAHAHA, can you believe that? I really did that! Since then there hasn’t been any SCARY things happening, but still some other stuff. I think our ghost likes to play games once in awhile”.

Do you believe in reincarnation?

– ”This is impossibe for me to know. I certainly hope not though. I don’t wanna live again. Life is too hard. I’m scared of death though, only because I really don’t know what is waiting for me. Hopefully nothing at all. No thoughts, no nuthin’!”.

Do you think that there is an ongoing UFO conspiracy, that we are not told the truth?

– ”Totally!!!!!!!!! When me and Alexi went to Roswell in 1999, we went to UFO museums and checked out all the sites. We tried to get to Area 51, but they have people patroling the roads up to there. They even have the maps there that read that there is no such place, when everyone knows it’s there! If that doesn’t raise some questions, then I don’t know what other proof you need. It was amazing to be in that town and visit the museums. We learned a LOT, and there’s no doubt in my mind that the US government is hiding things. I think that’s smart though. Learn as much as you can before going public with something that might change the fate of our planet!

Have you ever experinced something of this nature yourself?

– ”Yes, I’ve seen two UFOs. Let’s get something clear. Unidentified Flying Object. I’m not saying what I saw was something extraterrestial. I’m just saying they were something clearly unidentified. The first time was in Norway in 1996. I was with a friend and we were driving at night in the country side and suddenly OUT OF NOWHERE this “thing” just hovered in front of the car for about two seconds and then flew away in a split second. The whole thing happened so fast and we both looked at each other to make sure neither of us were going crazy. The next day in the newspaper there had been reports of a UFO sighting in that area the night before, so we were obviously not the only ones to see it. The second time was when me and Alexi were on vacation driving cross country in America in 1999. One of our destinations was ROSWELL, because we were both interested in UFOs aliens, ect… We were driving there at night (I was behind the wheel) and in the distance we both saw a light. We didn’t think anything about it at first. As we got closer the light grew brighter and as we drove right up to it, there was some sort of object hovering over the trees and as soon as we drove past it, the object made a VERY loud noise and then circled the car before flying away. THIS IS TRUE! I’M NOT CRAZY! I was screaming my lungs out I was sooooooo terrified. Alexi was just stunned, his eyes buldging out of his head in disbelief of what we’d just witnessed. I was so scared outta my mind and I pressed my foot on the gas and drove as fast as I could. When we entered Roswell, I was still shaking. We went straight to an all night liquor store to buy beer! We told the man working there what we had seen and he just shrugged his shoulders like it was no big deal. Then he started telling us stories of all the UFOs he’s seen, and how his sister has been abducted by aliens, etc… That town was spooky. EVERYONE there that we met had a different alien encounter to tell us about. We were beginning to think that everyone there were aliens themselves! Hahahaha”.

You dedicated your last album to the victims of september 11 2001, which is a nice geasture. I think we are all dealing with the demons created by the images we saw that day. Has it made you afraid to fly?

– ”A little bit, yes. I won’t deny that the first time I flew since then (only a few weeks later) I was observing what sort of people were boarding the plane. I was checking if anyone looked suspicious. It’s better now. I haven’t been afraid the last few times we´ve flown with the band”.

It is bound to have quite an impact on everything. You had already recorded your last album when this occured (ending the job only the day before this happened). Have you felt inspiration to lyrics for the next album from this?

– ”It has affected me deeply, but I don’t see myself writing a song about it. I’ve donated money to the “September 11th fund” and I desperately wanted to go to New York and help with the clean up efforts. I even tried to book a flight there but there were no flights going there right after it happened. I didn’t leave the house for 10 days after it happened and I hardly got a minutes sleep. I just stared glued to CNN. It was horrible”.

In a sense I´m glad that we have Xena in all this, to me that fantasy world gives me somewhere to go to forget everything else, including idiot terrorists, at least briefly. I guess we need our entertainment more than ever in times like this.

– You know something, for at least a few weeks after it happened I felt really guilty if I laughed or had any fun of any sort. No Xena, no anything. Just CNN 24 hours a day crying my eyes out. Then again, I always cry when I watch CNN, I’m very sensitive to the issues enveloping the world today. Just yesterday I was watching a story on women who are victims of acid burns (I can’t remember the country). Anyway, these women have been disfigured for life because of jealous husbands or men in their lives that feel they (the women) have rejected them or damaged their pride as men. Apparently acid burning is a popular form of domestic violence there. I really wish I remembered which country. India or Indonesia I think. I was crying like a baby. Watching the news puts my whole life into perspective. My goodness, I have it really good. I won’t take that for granted anymore”.

Well, thank you for being an entertainer Kimberly, and good luck with your future career in music or wherever you go. Hope to see you live in Sweden some day.

– ”You will! check our website when we have updated tour info! We should be playin three Swedish gigs in early December”.

(End of interview)

* * * * *

As it happens, we did meet in Stockholm and my friend (photographer) Michael Johansson took some amazing pictures of Kimberly at the venue (Klubben, Fryshuset). I published this interview in LUCY IN THE SKY #5 in July 2003 and sadly never hooked up with her again. It was also up on my old Atlantis Online site, which is saved on a disc so I could find it and republish it here now. I am so glad to showcase it in 2020 and the Sinergy albums still sounds great. They were released between 1999 and 2002 and the band broke up in 2004. Kimberly is said to have scored music for TV shows since those days. Wherever you are now, I am so glad that we met all those years ago.

Michael Eriksson (2002) / Trinkelbonker (2020)

(This blog has permission to use Michael Johansson images – if you quote this interview, let me know about it).

This is the third interview with Dougie White from his Rainbow days on this blog and we are now in the Spring of 1997 and they have toured Stateside for “Stranger In Us All”. Seen above is part of a Christmas Greeting card that arrived from Dougie back then with his full home address and personal phone number (not shown here for obvious reasons). This chat took place on April 22 1997 and we talked for about an hour. The interview saw print in DEEP PURPLE FOREVER #17 in May. This is a postcard from 1997 as Rainbow would soon write the final chapter of the 1990s.

* * * * * *

The first question has to be about Rainbow having a new drummer. What happened with Chuck?

– “Dr. Chuck got a good deal to come and work with somebody else this year, I can not recall the artist right now. It was an offer he could not refuse. Rainbow is not working all year long so it is understandable. On the other hand, John Micelli is a really good replacement. He is a bit heavier and I think that is good for the band”.

I heard a rumour that Eric Singer had gotten the job.

– “I know that he was approached but I do not know the details. When I arrived in America John was in place”.

So how was the US Tour?

– “We worked very hard, about 30-35 concerts back to back. It was very tough and myself, Greg and Ritchie got sick as well but we soldiered on. We cancelled one show due to illness and a couple of others for other reasons. We could not do New York because our equipment did not arrive on time from San Francisco. We played to 750-3,000 people a night. It was a good tour for Rainbow but we worked so hard that it was a relief when it was over. But I hope that we can go back to America later this year”.

It was Ritchie´s longest tour in America since the “Perfect Strangers” days. Did you meet any celebreties?

– “No, just a few. Eric Singer and (producer) Pat Regan saw us in Los Angeles”.

There are like 40-50 bootlegs out now from the “Stranger In Us All” tours. That is just unbelievable.

– “Yes, but it can not be stopped can it. Even if you check 2,000 people somebody will probably get a DAT-recorder in somehow. We are talking about smart people”.

I hear that the Japanese mafia is involved. I read an article about it.

– “That would not surprise me if big money is involved. The sad thing with all these releases is that is is increasingly difficult for us to put out an official live album when everybody has some bootlegs already. But in Japan it is actually not illegal to sell bootlegs in record stores”.

What opening band did you have in America, was it just one or different acts in different areas?

– “It was new ones every night, usually bands that the local promotor suggested”.

Did you get to see any of them?

– “No, we used to be in the bus before the shows. So it did not occour. I need a moment to get ready before a show. I did not see much of America. I had time to check out Chicago and Phoenix but the schedule made it impossible since we travelled all the time. We lived on that bus. One trip lasted 18 hours! I can not sleep while travelling on a bus so I would only sleep by cheer exhaustion. I was glad when that tour was over”.

Deep Purple spent years on the road in America doing that, maybe that is why they can not recall much of it?

– (Laughs) “Yes, I can see that”.

Did you have a video in the bus?

– “We had a video and we watched a lot of Western movies. “Tombstone” with Val Kilmer was one of them. “The Unforgiven” was another one. Do you know what Glenn Hughes is up to?”.

I know he met Ronnie James Dio in Stockholm when Dio played there.

– “The rock press in the UK is terrible. I missed Dio in the UK recently because I did not know that he was there. Paul met him in Germany”.

How is the plans shaping up for Rainbow?

– “What have you heard?” (note: I recall that question from an episode of Yes, Prime Minister when a minister was trying to figure out what the hell was going on – just sayin…)

Err, I hear that you are set to do Eastern Europe and I know you have a festival coming up in Denmark.

– “I did not know that. I am always the last guy to find these things out!”.

Do not take it as Gospel Dougie, this is just stuff that I have heard and I can not really verify it myself.

– “Ideally, if this was Dougie White´s Rainbow, then I would have done a new album in August/September, have it out by Christmas and then toured hard for six months starting in March. When we do the next album I hope we can strip it down and just get it done. We spent way too much time on takes on the last one. I would rather do it as close to playing live as you can get”.

How do you view “Stranger In Us All” now? Do you feel that it is over produced?

– “Yes, I spent forever on takes that the producer wanted me to do. Some takes were made just to have a few to pick from and then you do not hear it on the record. It seems unnecessary to me. I spent seven-eight hours a day on recording the vocals so I worked long and hard. I have been in the band long enough now to know what it is about. When we record next time I will skip the headphones and work with monitors instead. It just feels weird to have headphones on. And I think that Ritchie should work like that as well, just get the amps in and crank it up, almost with live volume. You can set it up like that if you want to. I also want the next album to be heavier, I know we have the right drummer for that now”.

Have you been writing for the next album?

– “I am sure that Ritchie has ideas but he has not presented anything to me yet. There is no point in working on anything now because it will always change in the studio. But I know that Ritchie likes to play in G or F sharp so I have prepared about nine ideas that I can pick from when he presents his riffs.

Is Ritchie aware that you have prepared this material?

– “No, I have not told him”.

Maybe you should. Maybe he would appreciate to hear that you are so focused on the job?

– “The sooner we record the album, the better. I would hit the studio tomorrow if I was asked to”.

As you know, Ritchie is pretty keen on time keeping. Is he happy with the new drummer?

– “Yes, we are very happy that we have him. After four-five gigs he was like a rock. He is a big chap, I hope we can work with him for a long time”.

How was the live set in America? Any major changes?

– “No, it was pretty much the same set as we did last year. We did “Kill The King” and “Sixteenth Century Greensleves” on one or two nights and “All Night Long”. That one is a bitch to do and I was sick. The songs that Graham Bonnet used to do is the hardest of them all to sing”.

He used to have a very loud approach.

– “Yes, and in the studio it could be three layers of vocals and that is really hard to recreate and make it sound good”.

Is there any signs that hard rock is coming back in America?

– “Our audience were very broad, you had kids but most of the audience were the usual 35 year olds”.

I have heard that independent labels are signing young bands so maybe there is a change coming?

– ” That is what I hear. You can never keep this music down, there are far to many that love it out there. I think people are getting really tired of all this depressive shit now. I think hard rock will have a resurgence. It would be strange if it did not happen”.

How many copies have you sold of “Strangers In Us All”? Do you have any idea?

– “No, but maybe 300,000 or something like that. I think we can sell another 200,000 if we do more shows, and I think Canada could be good for us. The problem with America is that the album seems to be hard to find. We have to take a look at that situation”.

I have seen some photos, a contact sheet,  from the gig in Minneapolis from March 7 and on some of them you can see that somebody has smashed a cake in your face. What happened?

– “It was my birthday but I never got to find out who did it because I was too busy getting it off my face and I was temporarily blinded”.

Was this at the very end of the show?

– “No it was around the time we did “Mistreated” I think, so we were like three songs into the set. Have you tried covering a woman up with whip cream? You think it is going to be good to lap it up but it is not. Getting that cake in my face was a bit like that.

Anything else going down that was weird?

– “Our tour manager got married on stage on the second night in Los Angeles. We did two nights for 750 people a night very close to The Rainbow.

The very place that Ritchie and Ronnie was at when they decided to call the band Rainbow.

– “Yes, I read about that in Mark´s Rainbow magazine. I think it is very good. He has put a lot of work into it”.

I agree, I think it was there that saw it too.

– “When they got married we played Van Morrison´s “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” (laughs). So we were a wedding band that night. We actually recorded that night for a possible live album, and we filmed it too”.

Really? With how many cameras?

– “Three, but I still have to see it. I have no idea if it will ever be used, we have to wait and see”.

Deep Purple will release their first live album with Steve Morse soon, recorded in Paris last year.

– “Really? Good to hear. But it is not good that Rainbow and Deep Purple are releasing albums and touring the same markets at the same time”.

Why is that?

– “I have noticed that promotors thinks it is a great idea to have Deep Purple and Rainbow on the same market playing the same places within a short space of time and we do not think this is very wise. It is one of the reasons why Rainbow did not tour so much last year. We did not want to compete with Deep Purple”.

I can see your point. It may be good for fans to have a few months to recover financially before the next gig comes up.

– “Exactly”.

Have you though about doing your own album?

– “I have a hard time picturing seeing “Dougie White” on an album. When Rainbow is over I would rather form a band. I have written 22 songs with Alex Dickson from Bruce Dickinson´s band for future use. The Japanese has just issued an album with a project called Chain. It is demos that I did with some friends in between the Iron Maiden audition and the Rainbow job. So it was recorded in 1993 and 1994. They love stuff like that in Japan. We went into a studio and made sure it sounded as good as possible. It is a very varied album. Funky stuff, acoustic stuff, Aerosmith type rock”.

Well we are looking forward to the next Rainbow album.

– “I am a better singer now than I was three years ago and I hope Rainbow can approach the new millennium with less Metal and more thought. “Hunting Humans” was a very good song, it had some good lyrics”.

And still it was dropped from the live set.

– “Yes, at the time I had to chose from “Hunting Humans” and “Mistreated” and I went with “Mistreated”, but this does not mean that “Hunting Humans” is gone for good. I am tired of love songs, I want to write more social lyrics”.

I think Ronnie James Dio is doing a great job these days.

– “Yes, I have to agree. “Angry Machines” was not as good as “Strange Highways” though. “Strange Highways” is wonderful”.

It is dark poetry.

– “He has moved on and his lyrics are very good”.

Have you heard the new Whitesnake album?

– “No, is it good?”.

Yes, David has gone back to his roots. It is a very cool album.

– “Glad to hear that. The first album I listened to after the US tour was “Northwinds”, and I am not sure why I picked that particular album first, but it is so good. “Come Taste The Band” was the first Deep Purple album I heard so I always had a soft spot for Coverdale”.

Some of that early stuff was written with Deep Purple in mind.

– “But it would never have worked. Tommy Bolin was a good guitar player but he was not doing himself any favours when he used drugs like that”.

David was important in Purple then, I think some of the stuff that we later heard in Whitesnake could just as easely have been released under the Purple banner.

– “It almost was Deep Purple. I am looking forward to hearing the new Whitesnake album”.

I will send you a tape.

* * * * *

(The first Dougie White interview was published on July 19 2013 on this blog, the second on March 6 2020. A very big one covering just about everything under the sun is coming up. Inserted in this interview is the cover of DEEP PURPLE FOREVER #17. If you use quotes from this interview, let me know about it)

Mike Eriksson 1996 (Trinkelbonker 2020)


The following interview with Rainbow vocalist Dougie White was made over the phone on March 10 1996 and was in print in my fanzine DEEP PURPLE FOREVER #14 in June 1996. The album “Stranger In Us All” had been released the previous summer and the band had by this time completed a tour and was on holiday. This is a postcard of early 1996.

* * * * * *

My spies tell me that you saw Deep Purple in Scotland.

– “Yes, I saw them in Glasgow with some old friends”.

So did you get to hang out with Deep Purple?

– “No, I was not there in that way. I was just there with my old friends, like in the old days when we used to see Rainbow, Whitesnake and Gillan. It was good, they did a few songs that they have not done before, like “Mary Long” and “Rat Bat Blue”.

I have heard that they have rehearsed songs like “Hard Loving Man” and “Bloodsucker” as well.

– “They seem to change the set from night to night, which is fun. I have seen three gigs, the second one in Reading, then Glasgow and London. Have they been to Sweden yet?

Not yet, the tour started in the UK. I think they will be here in June.

-“So they started over here? It was good fun seeing them, especially with old friends. We all grew up together not far from Glasgow”.

So how does it feel to have half the Rainbow tour out on bootlegs?

– “What? I did not know about that! I assumed that the show in Sweden would get out since it was aired on radio”.

Yes, the Swedish show is out, but I heard that people from Japan had been here and recorded it as well, along with the gig in Finland. So they never had to go to the radio source.

– “I guess I do not mind as long as the quality is OK. I have been collecting bootlegs myself. But I had no idea that so much was out”.

The entire Japanese tour is out in a box, like 18 CDs or something like that.

– “How about that? Well, you can never put a stop to that sort of thing. Especially now that everybody owns DAT-recorders. I met a guy that told me he had one of the nights in London on film. In Japan, Chuck went into a record store and found the Dusseldorf gig playing on TV screens. When they realized who he was they gave him a copy of it and a double CD from Scandinavia!”.

It is a bit weird that they sell this stuff quite openly in Japan.

– “I agree”.

Maybe it means that there is a real interest in the band? Maybe people would like to have an official release?

– “Well there are no plans yet for a live album but it is possible that it would help to halt the flood of unofficial product. I would like to see an official live video. Maybe we will do one the next time we go out?”.

What is going on with the solo project that Ritiche and Candice has been working on? One magazine even suggested an album title, “Medieval Moons And Dances”.

– “Yes, I saw the article in your magazine but that was the first thing I have heard about it. I have no idea when they are going to release something, perhaps after the next Rainbow tour? We will head out again in May and work until September”.

You must have heard some of those tunes? Do you think that Rainbow could perform some of these ideas?

– “Well, “Ariel” was originally one of those songs. The melody was different and it did not have the riff. I did hear her sing it in the house when I was there”.

Ritchie seems to be in a good place. Do you agree?

– “I talked with him the other day and he was pretty enthusiastic, but I really do not know him well enough to know about that”.

Let us talk a bit about the tour. What were your favourite places?

– “I was nervous in Helsinki but that night will always be my favourite. Bacause it was the first! It would be easier to answer your question if you asked me what places I did not like. Then my answer would be “None!”. But OK, I will not forget the gig in Leipzig in a hurry. It had nothing to do with the show, but they had opened up some sewers nearby and every time I inhaled air my lungs were filled with this awful stench. Hannover was interesting. After the show, when the roadcrew had started to get stuff off the stage, Ritchie decided that he wanted to do a couple of songs more that night”.

So what songs did you do?

– “Well we went on and I think we did “Hey Joe” and “Black Night”. And Chuck had like half his kit on stage. The soundguys was in a panic. London was good too because we did two nights and one was pretty straight forward and the second a bit more free”.

I read in a German publication that you and Chuck managed to convince Ritchie to play “Mistreated” in Rotterdam.

– “I can not recall exactly where that happened but it is true that we got him to play it and he stppoed before the solo. Then one night Ritchie completely surprised me when he suddenly wanted to do “Catch The Rainbow”. We had never talked about it or rehearsed it and when the time came I found myself thing, “Fuck, I can not remember the first line”, but it worked because the audience sang it and then I was fine”.

Hamburg must have been a disappointment for Ritchie, as he has so much history there. I heard it did not work.

– “Yes, Hamburg was a bit weird. We ditched the encores so they never got to hear “Burn” and “Smoke On The Water”. Some people yelled for Gillan over and over and another guy fell asleep right in front of Ritchie and I jumped down and shook him to life. Maybe that did not go down well with Ritchie?”.

What about the TV show in Dusseldorf, were you happy with it when you saw it? And was it OK to have all these cameras around?

– “That was not a problem, and Ritchie was OK with it. We got copies right after the show and I should say that it is pretty healthy to see yourself on film. You can see what moves that works and what you could cut out. I also found out that it would be a good idea to ditch that vest (laughs)”.

Last time we spoke you mentioned that you had all filmed a lot and I have to assume that this has carried on. Do you have enough material to put an Iron Maiden style video together for one of the songs on the album?

– “The quality is not good enough for that I think, and my camera stopped working too. But we did film quite a lot in Japan. I had a guy film us in Tokyo and Osaka. Personally, I am looking forward to a proper live video with Rainbow”.

Are you happy with the “Ariel” video and will you make another video for the album?

– “It was fun to do it, but it was hard work. We started to film at 11:00 and stopped at 06:00 the next morning. So it took like 18-19 hours to do it. And it was a long time ago that I had been riding on a horse”.

This version of “Ariel” is a bit different. When did you record it?

– “Ritchie did it in Copenhagen. I had never heard it until I saw the video. We shot it in Dusseldorf, Italy and Switzerland”.

In the old days we used to see Ritchie smash his guitar, did it ever happen on this tour?

– “No, nothing like that. He did not touch his equipment in that way at all”.

Did he use his signature guitar on the tour?

– “Not that I know of, is it out?”.

Somebody said it is available in Japan now. Not sure. Do you play the guitar yourself?

– “Only for fun. I did a soundcheck in Milan. We jammed on “Black Night” and it sounded very bad!”.

You did not spot any Japanese guys with tape recorders when you did that? Could be out on a bootleg before you know it.

– “(Laughs) Yes, that would be something!”.

What about the UK tour. I have a tape of one of the shows and it sounds like you have good support from the crowd.

– “Everybody was there. My father, my brother, all my old friends. I was a nervous wreck. But I fixed it with some Jack Daniels (laughs)”.

I assume Ritchie is still drinking some of his much beloved Johnnie Walker before the shows?

– “That is true”.

Is he still drinking down to the label?

– “Or a little more (laughs)”.

I think he has given photographer Michael Johansson a few bottles over the years if I am not mistaken.

– “Tell Michael that his pictures for the Japanese tour programme was great. Of all the merchandise we had in Japan I liked that the most. I bought 10 copies”.

Did you see his pictures in BURRN! Magazine?

– No, I have not seen that. I saw the Japan story. I was impressed on how they write down the exact set lists of all the shows in small print at the bottom of the pages”.

The Japanese press is very good. Which can not be said about the UK media. Do you have any idea why magazines like Kerrang! just ignores Rainbow? Are you, or perhaps Ritchie, in some kind of feud with them?

– “No, this is not coming from our side. It has to do with personal opinions. I know that Ritchie did seven interviews and not a lot of that ever saw print. MOJO used a few quotes on Gillan, stuff like that. And that was it, except for a couple of reviews. I guess they might be busy following the current trends, celebrating Foo Fighters and all that. Nothing wrong with them, but why not pay some respect to the guys that started it all? Like Blackmore, Jimmy Page and Tony Iommi. Of the “old” bands, they will only follow Iron Maiden and Metallica”.

But you live in London and I assume you know some of these guys. And still this is what we get.

– “Yes, but I do not know them really and I do not care. I only know Dave Ling and Malcolm Dome a bit, but I rarely attend gigs these days. I saw Thunder in December and met Luke. Originally, they were supposed to be the opening act for the Rainbow shows on the 1995 tour but they run into some problem and it never happened”.

In London, you made the spectacular announcement that the last time you had been at the Labatt´s Apollo, you had been selling hot dogs. True?

– “Yes, this was around 1991 and 1992 and I had nothing to do and had to get out of the house. So I sold hot dogs for about five months on different types of events, like boxing matches, film festivals etc. But I made a point to avoid the rock concerts. When they had four in a row and I never showed up, they fired me”.

You sang with Praying Mantis for a while. When was this? Was it in the early eighties when they had Deep Purple´s old management?

– “No, this was much later, and I was only in for a couple of weeks. They needed somebody that could do a Japanese tour with them and the keyboard player, whom I knew, called me asked me if I could do it. So I learned 17 songs in a couple of weeks and went to Japan with them. I heard that Gary Barden from the Michael Schenker Group is singing with them now. They were in Japan with him when Rainbow was there”.

I love the old Michael Schenker albums.

– “Yes, and German TV recorded a show with him right after they did the Rainbow show, and I have seen it now”.

When you were in Japan they had a party for the band in Osaka at the Hard Rock Café. Tell me about that.

– “I saw the “Ariel” video for the first time there. There was a lot of fans there and they wanted us to sign the most unbelievable stuff. But nobody came up to me with a copy of the Midnight Blue album that I had done and that surprised me”.

I am not familiar with this project.

– “It was an album we recorded in 1991 and it was released in Japan on Zero Records in 1993. One guy came up to me and asked me to sign a Praying Mantis article from my visit there with them and the other guys had already signed it, and somebody had drawn a Hitler mustache on me (laughs)”.

Any practical jokes going on during the tour?

– “Not really. Most of that went down when I was new in the band. And it is not so easy when you share a bus because there would be instant revenge (laughs). Some bizarre stuff happened. In Brussels, I found all my towels, my slippers and the like in a bubble bath…”.

There were rumours going around that Joe Lynn Turner was back in the band on the Internet.

– “Have not heard anything about that”.

Well I called Joe and checked it out and when he denied it I put up a disclaimer on my site and debunked it.

– “You know, I have been fired seven times (short paus for dramatic effect), but it is all just talk. And I will not listen to that sort of thing until I hear it from Ritchie or the management. After the last show in Japan I went up to Ritchie and said “That was good fun, do I still have a job?”, and he assured me it was all fine”.

I hear that you have a new management.

– “It appears that way, but I am not really involved. It would be good fun to tour America. I was completely exhausted after the final gig because we had done so many shows back to back, but a few days later I just wanted to go out there again!”.

I saw a press release that mentioned Eastern Europe.

– “The only confirmed gigs so far is South America”.

Sounds good. This type of rock is huge over there.

– “Yes, I am looking forward to these shows. I think we are on for Eastern Europe in July and August, and I hope we can visit places like Greece and Israel”.

Deep Purple opened up those countries when Joe Lynn Turner was in the band. I think Israeli TV filmed a show.

– “I have not seen that but I have seen some of it on home video”.

What have you been doing on your break?

– “Right after the tour I went into a studio and sang a few parts for a techno album with a band called Messiah. It sounds a bit like Nine Inch Nails and Ministry”.

I hate that stuff.

– “Yes, but it was nothing serious really from my side. I am completely focused on Rainbow and I have been working on ideas for future use”.

Good luck Dougie, I hope we can chat again at a later date, perhaps after the tour?

– “Just call me”.

* * * * *

(This was the second Rainbow interview I made with Dougie. The first was added to this blog on July 19 2013 and more is to come. The magazine cover you see inserted is DEEP PURPLE FOREVER #14, the issue that featured this particular interview. If you quote this interview, let me know about it)

Mike Eriksson 1996 (Trinkelbonker 2020)

Deep Purple recorded their first album with Don Airey on keyboards with producer Michael Bradford at Royaltone Studios in Burbank, California in 2003. The album was released in August in Europe and in October in the US. This interview with Michael Bradford was made by e-mail and I got his written down answers on August 29 that year. It was published in my magazine SLICE 2004 six months later and it was also online at my then still going Atlantis Online site. There is some good history in this interview and I am pleased to give it another platform to exist on here now. Deep Purple would also record “Rapture Of The Deep” two years later with Bradford.

* * * * *

Exactly when did you discover Deep Purple and how old were you at the time?

– I remember hearing “Hush” on the radio when I was a kid (I am 42). By the time I was 11, I was playing bass, and “Smoke On The Water” was new. That song changed my life, because of that heavy, distorted bass. Then “Highway Star” came out, and I was hooked. Of course, I lived in an all black neighborhood at the time, and the other kids were listening to R&B music, so I was kind of a strange person to them. But it was too late; I was hooked on rock, and I have been ever since.

How do you rate the “classic” 1970-1976 era and do you have any favorite albums from that period?

– Most Deep Purple fans probably start with that era. My favorite album from that period is “Made in Japan”, because the recording really made you feel like you were there at the concert. I also really liked the song “Burn”. That may be one of my favorite riffs of all time. That era had some solid, energetic work; “In Rock”, “Machine Head” and “Fireball” all came from that time. People these days think of Deep Purple in terms of hard rock, but there is a lot of jazz and experimentation going on in there. Miles Davis had gone electric, the Mahavishnu Orchestra was big, and synthesizers were becoming more portable and affordable. Deep Purple was influenced by all of those things.

Did you experience them live back then?

– I never saw them in person back then, because I was too young to go alone. But I never missed their live TV performances. In the USA, we had TV shows like “In Concert”, “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert”, and so on. That was a great way to see a band. Also, the California Jam concert was televised, and I loved that performance. I have been throwing guitars and blowing up gear on stage ever since!

Hard rock seemed to be out of favour in America in the late seventies. Everybody pronounced it dead. Do you recall your own thoughts on the subject back then?

– I do not know if hard rock was ever considered dead where I come from. I am from Detroit, and in the Midwest part of the USA, hard rock never goes out of style. Working class people love rock music, because it goes with their life. It is great to play on the radio when you are working as a carpenter or plumber, or at the factory. It is great to party to, to drive your Corvette to, or to have a big bash at the lake. Even when other styles have come and gone in trendy places like New York, hard rock was always popular in the heartland of America.

Did you listen to what the ex-Purple guys were doing in the late seventies? I know most of them had a low profile in the States for some time.

– No, I did not know what they were up to during that period. I was glad when Rainbow came along, though.

In the early eighties hardrock came back with a vengeance. Did you have an interest in the Purple guys at that time and what they did in bands like Rainbow and Whitesnake?

– I was really into Rainbow, because they had some huge songs on the radio, like “Man On The Silver Mountain”. I saw them once in concert, and “Kill The King” blew my mind. I also knew about Ian Gillan doing the album with Black Sabbath. Whitesnake was cool, but that was when MTV was new, and a lot of bands found that their music was being overshadowed by their image. Out of all of that, I liked Rainbow the best.

How about Black Sabbath with Ian Gillan and with Glenn Hughes? It was shortlived but they did tour the States.

– Yes, I thought that that was interesting, because Sabbath had been seen in the USA as the “evil” band, and Purple was not seen that way, so it was odd that Gillan would sing with them. But then I realized that things are not always what they appear. I thought they sounded pretty good together. It is amazing how someones perceived image can affect a listeners perception. I am sure people look at me and have a certain perception as well.

The reunion came about in 1984 and Deep Purple touched down in the States again in 1985. Did you catch them live that year?

– Yes, that was about the time of “Perfect Strangers”. I saw them in Detroit.

How do you recall that time?

– Detroit is a great place for rock bands to play, because the fans are so wild. That is why they call it “Rock City”. The band was great, and the so-called “Mark II” lineup was back together, and they had some real fire in their sound. Plus, they had “Knocking At Your Back Door”, which was a big hit at the time. It was fun.

The band went through some tough years with lineup changes and so on starting in the late eighties, how do you rate releases like “The House Of Blue Light”, “Slaves And Masters” and “The Battle Rages On”?

– I think “House Of Blue Light” is a good album, one that still holds up today. “Slaves And Masters” and “The Battle Rages On” do not have as much spark for me. They may have been trying really hard to get along at the time, or trying to have a hit. When it becomes too self-conscious, it is hard for inspiration to happen. But that is just my view; I am sure many people love those albums.

Did you catch them live during that period?

– No, I did not see them live then. I was very busy working in studios and touring with bands myself by then. I was trying to get my own career started!

Things have settled down since Steve Morse came in, how do you rate the two releases he made with Deep Purple (“Purpendicular” and “Abandon”) before you were asked to work with them?

– “Purpendicular” was an exciting new change for Deep Purple. Morse really brought some new ideas and energy to the band. I know that they really dig having him in the group. I think that “Purpendicular” was a really good album. “Abandon” didn not seem as good, but I am not sure that they were given enough time to work on it, since they were also touring so much.

To get the history right, do you recall when they got in touch with you and how did that happen exactly?

– We had the same music publisher in Europe. I had written a song that was a big hit in Europe at the time, and the publisher thought that perhaps a producer who was also a songwriter could help Deep Purple with getting their ideas organized. That person sort of acted as a “matchmaker” between the band and me. Then, I called Bruce Payne, Deep Purple’s manager, on the phone, and we set up a meeting in England. So, calls were going between Germany, London, California and elsewhere.

You saw the band in England, in Brighton, on february 19 2002. Had you accepted the job at that time, or were you still thinking about it?

– I was into the idea beforehand, but I needed to see them live before I made up my mind. I wanted to be sure that they still wanted to win. Some “legendary” bands get to a point where they are just happy to play live for their dedicated fans, and do not try anything new. I only wanted to do it if Deep Purple still had that hunger to make a hit record, regardless of the odds. Happily, that is what they wanted, too.

How did it feel to be invited to work with Deep Purple? After all, they are a legendary band that will go down in music history.

– Are you kidding me? I was floored by the opportunity! But, most importantly, they lived up to their reputation. They were great guys, and great talents. Yet, they had their attitudes together. The funny thing is they wanted me to come to see them in order to prove to me that they had what it takes. They were not saying “We are Deep Purple, bow down to us”. Fortunately, I have had quite a few hits of my own, so I felt that I could work with them as a peer. So I was glad to bring something to the table other than just pure admiration.

Towards the end of 2002 you were working on material. Was the first session basically a working session without the tapes rolling, or a bit of both?

– The first month was strictly rehearsal, writing and arranging. We only used a DAT machine to get the ideas down. I did not want a multitrack there, because I did not want people to start “making an album” too soon. By doing it that way, we were able to analyze each song, and get them in shape without the pressure of being in an expensive studio.

How quickly did you find the right sound? It seems like this CD was recorded very fast in contrast to the earlier reunion releases.

– Finding the sound was easy. Just get a great band, and put them in a room with good acoustics and let them play. Deep Purple has a sound. My job was to get it on tape. The recording went quickly, because we were well prepared in rehearsal. All of the “what if” questions were sorted out by the time we got to the recording studio. That way, when we were recording, we just treated it like a concert album. Play it down live, fix any mistakes, and move on while it’s still fresh.

Being the drummer, I assume that Ian Paice has to settle in first? How did you two work out the right sound?

– Ian has a large drum kit, so I found a studio in LA (Royaltone Studios) with a large main room. We set his drums up near a corner, and let him get used to the room. His drums are also large in size. His cymbals are huge. But really, Ian’s sound is just him playing his kit. Great musicians get their sound from their hands, their special feel. It does not really matter what gear they use, it is all in their hands. Put some good microphones in the room and you ca not go wrong. Some engineers and producers make a big mystery out of it, but I do not. If you want a great drum sound, get a great drummer.

Jon Lord is credited as one of the songwriters on two of the tracks, “I Got Your Number” and “Picture Of Innocense”, so I assume that these songs were pretty much ready by the time you started to work. Did you re-work these tunes in any way or did they remain what they were initially?

– Those two songs started out as demos that they had recorded before I was involved. In rehearsal, we worked on the arrangements and streamlined them some more. Then we re-recorded them at Royaltone. They were pretty heavily re-arranged, just to make them flow better.

Was the band in touch with Jon Lord in any way during the recording of “Bananas” that was work related?

– No, Jon was already on tour in Australia, so there was never any chance for him to be involved. Fortunately, Don Airey really rose to the occasion and played some great stuff. His keyboards and synthesizers really expanded the sonic palette as well. Jon actually passed through LA one day, on a flight layover, but only for a few hours. So he was in the city, but not in the studio.

The CD opens with “House Of Pain”. You are credited to have written this together with Ian Gillan. Can you fill us in on the details?

– It is just a blues-based rock song about having a lover who is hard to live with, but you can’t leave because the lovemaking is so good. I have lots of friends who can not quite break up with someone. Maybe they are afraid, maybe they don not want to be lonely, and maybe they just like a twisted mess. That is exciting for some people. I am not one of them.

Who is singing backing vocals on this song? Is Don Airey part of that now?

– Gillan and Roger are doing those backgrounds.

When did you know that this song would end up kicking off the CD?

– After mixing was done. I just thought that starting the album with a big guitar riff and Ian screaming would be a great way to say “Wake up everybody! We Are Back!”

“Sun Goes Down” is majestic. Do you recall how the band came up with this tune?

– That one was developed in rehearsal. Steve comes up with some great riffs. The band really wrote that one as a team. It was the first song where we did background vocals on the chorus that we knew would not be doable live, but that is why albums are different. The song had lots of great parts; it was a matter of putting them in the right sequence.

Don Airey fits right in and certainly suits Deep Purple very well. Did you ever hear him worry about it? Did you have to coach him in any way or was it smooth sailing?

– I am sure Don was concerned that some hardcore fans would not want to see Lord go. But, he rose to the occasion and played great. His solo at the end of “Sun Goes Down” is a killer. I also love the honky-tonk piano on “Razzle Dazzle”. I think he made a conscious effort to not just play organ. That was a wise choice, because that is what made his sound different from Lord’s. I did not have to coach him. Great musicians do not need coaching, just a little editing.

Don seems to have been involved in much of the songwriting process, would you say that this is a correct description of how the work was done? The reason I ask is that in the early seventies there was a fiveway split right down the line creditswise, although perhaps certain members contributed maybe slightly more than others. With a couple of exceptions, the fiveway split credits is back, so I am thinking that hopefully this has to do with the band jamming together more that anything else. True?

– Yes, this album was the result of a lot of jamming and equal input by the band members. I was the filter and the tie-breaker in any disputes, but Don and everyone contributed ideas, and they were bandied about quite freely.

Would you say that Deep Purple have their own way of doing things if you compare with other artists that you have worked with?

– Deep Purple really likes to do things as a band. There are two kinds of bands; the kind that shares, and the kind that does not. Matchbox 20 and Counting Crows are pretty much bands that play the songs of one main writer. Deep Purple lives or dies by collaboration.

“Haunted” is the first single and this is a very unique song for a Deep Purple CD. Lets say that it is more commercial sounding than most of their earlier output. Was there a discussion on whether this song should be on the album or not? How much did they worry about the “formula” if you know what I mean?

– They were concerned that maybe their hard rock fans would not like “Haunted”. I do not think that it is commercial sounding, because nothing on the radio sounds like it. If they were trying to sound commercial, they could have tried to imitate Linkin Park or a nu-metal band. “Haunted” is actually a throwback to a more 60s British soul music sound. It is probably more akin to Procul Harum or Spencer Davis or Traffic than anything going on today. They were not really worried about formula, because they have been together for so long and they have made so many albums. Like I said before, they have always been more versatile than people realize.

Can you describe how this song evolved?

– Roger had the basic idea, and he played it for Ian and me. We made a very basic demo of it at my studio, and Ian took the CD home to write most of the lyrics. Ian and Roger worked the lyrics out, then they presented it to the rest of the band. It took its final shape in rehearsals.

I know that you have worked on other versions as well. What was the thinking behind this and did some kind of vote result in what would see the light of day on the CD or how did this work?

– I made other mixes of it because of radio. I knew that for the single to have the best chance, we would need a few different versions. A pop station would want a little less guitar. A rock station would not necessarily want the string section. The version on the album is the one that the band wanted.

Ian Gillan sings like a king on this track and on this album as a whole. How did the two of you approach this record?

– We approached the record with two things in mind. One, we were not afraid to put vocal layers on that they could not do live, so he had more harmonies than normal. Also, Ian had his own vocal studio within the main studio that was set up very comfortably for him. Once he was in his own world, he sang great, because he was relaxed and at ease. Also, we cut vocals when the band was not there, to avoid the uncomfortable feeling of having your bandmates listening to your every breath. The voice is the most delicate instrument. A relaxed singer is a happy singer.

You wrote “Walk On” with Ian Gillan, can you describe how this song came to life and how you got permission from Steve Morse to even play some guitar on it?

– I had actually written “Walk On” some time ago, but I never had a use for it. I played it on guitar for Ian and Roger, and they really liked it. Ian re-wrote the lyrics in a way that made the song flow better, and had removed some of the bitterness of my original lyrics. In rehearsal, I started the song off by playing that little rhythm part that gets the groove going. We did it that way for so long, that we cut it that way as well. That left Steve able to do the other stuff while the track was going down. Also, the solo that Steve played was a first-take shot from the original rhythm track!

I consider “Walk On” to be quite possibly a major hit, should it be released as a single. It is clear to me that your working relationship with Ian Gillan is a very successful one.

– I really love Ian as a person. He loves to share ideas, and he’s secure enough as a person to allow a good idea in even if he did not write it himself. I would work with him anytime.

“Silver Tongue” has a great vibe to it, how did you approach this song and who came up with the basic idea?

– That song started off as a jam. It was just a matter of putting the riffs and sections in the right order. I processed Don’s clavinet to give the song a little bit of a mechanized feel. Of course, those are Ian’s cryptic lyrics.

I think it is a classic Purple tune, I even think it could work as a single.

– I agree. They will need something like that especially for American radio.

To me there are so many moments on this CD that can be said to be “classic Purple”. Maybe more so than on any other release from the entire reunion, and still it is a very brave record as well.

– Yes, it is “classic”, because it is so brave. This record was not a matter of re-creating “Machine Head” or something. In fact, “Machine Head” was great because it was a bold departure at the time. It sure did not sound like “Hush”. Deep Purple is great when they push themselves, and that is what they did. Even people who do not like “Bananas” at first have said that they like it more and more once it sinks in.

I miss “Well Dressed Guitar”, but I hear that it will be released on the japanese version of “Bananas”. Does it bum you out as much as it does the fans in the rest of the world that this kind of thing is permitted to happen again and again? Certainly, the band recorded it hoping it would make the record.

– I do not know. I think “Well Dressed Guitar” works as a live performance piece better than as a studio record. It would be great to have a live recording of it in concert. The band recorded it, but it just did not fit in as well as the rest of the songs. Also, with “Contact Lost”, that would have been two instrumentals, and between the two, I honestly think that “Contact Lost” is a superior composition. It will wear better over time. Also, I understand that “Well Dressed Guitar” was released on a previous album, and that may have been a problem as well.

Steve Morse is amazing. Being a guitarplayer yourself, did that influence your working relationship with Steve in any way?

– My main thing with Steve was to help him know when to stop. He will do 500 takes if you want him to, in the search for perfection. Also, I encouraged him to go for feel, more than precision, and stretch the notes out a little more. His best work was always in the first two takes. Get them while they are hot!

Steve came up with “Contact Lost” right after the space shuttle disaster, a very touching tribute to them. There is this old saying that seems to ring true here, that guitarists often tends to talk throught their guitar.

– All great musicians use their instrument as their voice. Santana does it. George Benson does it. B.B. King does it. The first time I realized it was back when Jaco was in Weather Report. I really felt that I understood his personality through his bass playing. It requires playing long enough that you are no longer bound by technique. When that becomes second-nature, then your voice emerges.

The track seems to have been left the way it was first recorded, is that correct?

– Yes, I wanted that one to stay pure. Of course, we added acoustic guitars and the Brian May-styles guitar orchestra at the end. Also, Paul Buckmaster came and played the lovely cello counterpoint to Steve’s melody.

Describe a typical day in the studio. Any unwritten laws or rules?

– In the studio I like to keep things moving. The band came in to record a rhythm track each day. Ian would come the following morning, and we would do the vocals before the band arrived to cut the next rhythm track. Ian would do a guide vocal during the recording of the rhythm track. That way, we cut a song a day. After about two weeks of basic tracking, we could concentrate on overdubs, solos and fixes. The only rule was to keep moving, so self-doubt would not have a chance to creep in. If you give a band too much free time in the studio, they over-analyze things, and they un-do a lot of good ideas, in an attempt to make them better.

Did any practical jokes go down?

– No practical joke, but a lot of really good humor. Don Airey has a million jokes, and his joyful spirit really made the sessions fun. Plus, since the guys are from different parts of England, it was a festival of exotic accents for me to listen to.

Did Steve fly to Los Angeles in one of his planes? Did you get to fly with him?

– No, I think Steve flew commercial. I am afraid of those small planes. I will take a Gulfstream IV, though.

Did you work on more songs than the 13 we know about and if so, is anything in complete form or are we talking about ideas?

– No, we cut what we put on the record. “Well Dressed Guitar” was the lone holdout.

The band needs to record again soon to make up for the five year wait we had for “Bananas”. Have you talked about getting back together again at some point?

– Yes, maybe we can start at the end of the next touring cycle. Maybe the end of 2004.

As you know Martin Birch produced the classic albums and this new CD really marks the beginning of a new era that could have you in his old role as the guy that records with Deep Purple. That is what I hear people say. People are excited.

– I would love to be known favorably as “The guy who produced Deep Purple”. I would work with them anytime.

How do you rate the CD yourself if you can have your final say on it?

– I am very satisfied with “Bananas”. Great songs, great playing, great singing. It has its own sound, so some will love it, and some will not, but at least it will not be ignored. I would not trade the experience for the world.

* * * * *

By Mike Eriksson 2003 (Trinkelbonker 2020)

(If you use quotes from this interview, give me credit and let me know about it)

(UPDATED April 5 2020)

For easy access to all the Classic Rock Interviews on this site, here is a list and the date they were published (going back to 2012 when this blog was created). They span stuff from 1981 until today.

DEEP PURPLE PODCAST/NATHAN BEAUDRY & JOHN MOTTOLA 2020 (April 6 2020), KIMBERLY GOSS/SINERGY 2002 (March 31 2020), RAINBOW 1997 (March 9 2020), RAINBOW 1996 (March 6 2020), MICHAEL BRADFORD 2003/MAKING OF DEEP PURPLE´S “BANANAS” (March 2 2020), URIAH HEEP 1988 (February 18 2020), ANNE-LIE RYDÉ 1984 (January 21 2020), CRYSTAL VIPER 2020 (January 16 2020), JOHN NORUM 1988 (January 12 2020), ARTOMUS FRIENDSHIP 2019 (November 10 2019), NAZARETH 1989 (August 26 2019), VELVET INSANE 2018 (September 11 2018), JON LORD 1981 (December 15 2015), DAVID COVERDALE 1981 (November 13 2015), GLENN HUGHES 1996 (May 12 2015), TOTO 1988 (March 31 2015), YNGWIE MALMSTEEN 1990 (March 1 2015), MARTINA EDOFF 2009 (December 4 2014), MICHAEL MOJO NILSSON 2014 (January 21 2014), THE HUGHES TURNER PROJECT 2001 (December 29 2013), JOE LYNN TURNER 1996-1998 (October 9 2013), GLENN HUGHES & JOHN NORUM 1988 (September 21 2013), JOE LYNN TURNER 1994-1995 (September 9 2013), JOE LYNN TURNER 1993 (September 7 2013), STEVE LUKATHER 1989 (September 4 2013), BLACK SABBATH 1983 (August 22 2013), RAINBOW 1995 (July 19 2013), GILLAN 1982 (June 11 2013), DEEP PURPLE 2002 (May 2 2013), DEEP PURPLE 1998 ( February 25 2013), BLACK SABBATH 1986 (February 12 2013), BLACK SABBATH 1987-1989 (December 31 2012), JOHNNIE BOLIN 2012 (December 24 2012), MARTIN POPOFF & RICH GALBRAITH 2009 (November 12 2012), DAVID COVERDALE 2000 (October 14 2012), JON LORD 1984 (September 7 2012), JOE LYNN TURNER 1992 (August 31 2012), JUDAS PRIEST 1986 (August 22 2012), RONNIE JAMES DIO 2001 (August 20 2012), NIGHTWISH 2002 (August 14 2012).


(My image)

You have to admire a band that never quits. Uriah Heep are still out there to this day, but they always had a hard time living up to the glory days of the 1970s. It has to be said though that Uriah Heep has had a fairly stable line-up for quite a number of years now, and singer Bernie Shaw has been there now since 1986. Same as keyboard player Phil Lanzon. Out of the 24 studio albums, Bernie and Phil has been there for the last eight. When I met Uriah Heep (in my hometown Östersund in August 1988), they had just released the first album (“Live In Moscow”) with this line-up, and they were hoping to regain lost ground. The concert in Östersund was not well attended, it seemed like the old fans just ignored the fact that Heep was still out there. Since then, they have released some good albums and they have outlived all trends that has passed in rock over the years. I only met them once and guitarist Mick Box gave me this interview before the show that night. He was a very decent chap, very positive. It was in print in LT (October 8 1988).

The interview started with his philosophy of life.

– “I love this lifestyle so much that it is the only thing I want to do until I retire. I have a wife and son in New Mexico but I still spend most of the year on the road. Some bands go out and they do a few shows in America, a few in Europe and maybe a couple of them in the UK. And they call that a World Tour. When we go out we usually play in over 30 countries, including places like Indonesia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Australia, Iceland and so on. Our last singer, Pete Goalby actually left because he could not handle it”.

There is no song from your last studio album “Equator” on the new live album, why is that?

– “I guess it was the changes in the band that did it. And that we wanted to give the fans in the Soviet Union what they wanted to hear the most. There are three new tracks on the live album, the rest is classics. If I see Deep Purple I want to hear “Smoke On The Water”. We have two new members so it feels right to introduce them as well, and then present the classics and how they sound now”.

The last studio album was released through CBS. Why did you leave that label?

– “We were contracted to a CBS owned label called Portrait Records and they did a lousy job for us. We could often not find our record in countries that we played in, and nobody would tell us anything so we did not know. What is the point in playing to thousands of people only to find out that they have not heard your new album?”.

You performed at the Reading Festival recently. How was that?

– “It was a blast. That festival goes on for three days and after the event most people thought that Iggy Pop and us had put on the best shows. It was the first gig at home in two years and we will be back for more shows before we record the next album. It is often the case in this business that you raise your profile if you have done a good job, and more people will be interested in seeing the next tour. We have not been in Sweden for a while so we knew we had to build things up again on this market”.

You are not disappointed that the response has been lukewarm?

– “Not really, we half expected it. The kids today hardly knows what Uriah Heep is but we are playing here now and talking to media and we hope that it will be better next time around over here. We will have a new album out then, maybe a couple of singles and a video”.

You will hit the studios soon for another studio album. What direction are you moving in right now?

– “I think it will be a natural successor to the last album. It will sound like Uriah Heep, with our way of presenting melodic harmonies. I have written stuff with our new keyboard player Phil Lanzon that are really good. It may get to be a little harder than the last one”.

The 20th Anniversary is coming up. How will you celebrate this occation?

– “I think a big birthday cake with a naked lady jumping up from it would be a good start (laughs). We will certainly make the most of it, we will do a long tour for sure and we will have a new album out. We can sell merchandise marking the event, the lot. I am really looking forward to it”.

Do you feel threatened at all by all the younger bands that are out there now?

– “No, because we already have our market. The reason that we take it on the road for nine months out of every year is to keep it all from stagnating. Our only problem is that we tend to view the entire world as our working field and that means that it might take us a while to revisit a specific market again. People think you have quit and you have to explain to them that you have been in 30 countries since you last played in their backyard”.

Where do you spend your time off? You all seem to live quite far away from each other.

– “Yes, we are not exactly neighbors. I live in New Mexico and I have a flat in London. Trevor Boulder lives in Dallas but also have a house in Hull. Lee Kerslake lives on an island that belongs to Spain not far off the coast of Africa. Bernie Shaw lives in Canada and England and Phil Lanzon is still residing in the UK. That results in quite a bit of bus fare (laughs). But if you are a professional and if you can organise all these things, then anything is possible really”.

You made it through hard work and long tours. Does it annoy you that some younger bands can have a successful video and that is it?

– “No, because that is the way it works today. You just have to accept it. I think that any band that makes it in this business today probably dererves it. Most bands have years of work behind them before anything happens. Nobody gets anything for free in this business”.

In recent years, new styles have emerged in rock, like Thrash and things that have borrowed from Punk. What is your take on this?

– “I am fine with it all, but it has all been done before. Iggy Pop was out there long before it became fashionable to do his thing. There is obviously a great interest in new styles and if people enjoy that then that is OK”.

One recent trend is this slam diving thing, were people jump into the crowd from the stage.

– “Thankfully, we do not get that sort of crowd. Our audience are enjoying themselves like they always did. I think that phenomenon you mentioned is an isolated thing really”.

What do you think of the future?

– “Music is my life and the guitar is an instrument with countless possibilities. When I started to do this I decided that it was something that I would stick to for the rest of my life. I may end up playing the blues in Chicago when Uriah Heep is over. I consider myself to be jackpot lucky in that my work is also my passion in life. When we played in Moscow we realized that our music is deeply embedded in their culture. It is pretty fantastic to walk into a fancy restaurant in Moscow and the string ensemble plays “July Morning”. We met fans that had all our albums and they were ready to brave the cold to get a chance to meet us and to get them signed. You also have to remember that all those people had to save money for months to get each and every album on the black market”.

Many artists can not write music when they are on the road. How is it for you?

– “I am lucky in that I can come up with ideas anytime, anywhere. Today we tested a new idea on our soundcheck that might end up on the next album. I do get inspiration from the road – you can find yourself in a bar and somebody says something that sticks in your head, and that could end up as a title of a song. I think I would start to go crazy if I stayed home for too long, because I need this kind of freedom. And the longer you are away from home, the better it is to return. You get to know your wife all over again (laughs)”.

You seem to really love your lifestyle.

– “Oh yes, we live our lives like most people can only dream about. We see a lot of countries on a regular basis. A regular family might save money and then go to a specific place. We are out there all the time. Uriah Heep is all about connecting with the people and we enjoy spending time with our fans. We do not have problems with egos in this band. A career can go up and down over and over but the most important thing is that you always deliver all that you have got. We recently played in front of 120,000 people in Jugoslavia and tonight we are here in front of a few hundred. But the show will be the same. If you do not enjoy yourself, and if you can not communicate with your fans, then you should not be in this business”.

(If you borrow quotes from this interview, have the decency of letting me know about it)

Mike Eriksson (Trinkelbonker 2020) – My image of Uriah Heep.