Saturday, 17 November 2018

Interview: Q5

Having never graced British soil before, we grab some time with Seattle's phenomenal Q5 before they bring the light to the Camden Underworld, London with their first ever UK performance before moving onto Edinburgh to continue their European Tour!

Everybody has that list of 'must-see' bands and tonight it's definitely time for one of ours. We feel privileged to welcome Q5 as they prepare for their first show in the UK! It's clearly been one hell of a tour already as we step backstage to a tranquil room set with a sea of sleeping bodies.

However, clearly running on adrenaline and excitement, we are greeted by a very tired but elated Jonathan Scott K (vocals), Jeffrey A. McCormack (drums) and Dennis Turner (guitar). After a long and somewhat troublesome journey from Germany's Trveheim Festival, the lads are here and ready to give many London fans what they have been waiting for, for a very long time. 

Welcome to London- show number three of the tour! There's a long road ahead but how's the tour treating you so far?

Jonathan Scott K: 
 Oh it's very tiring but so so great, really great. Especially last Last night was absolutely brilliant.

Michelle: At Trveheim?

Jonathan: Yes- Trveheim Festival in Germany!

 What with it being a relatively new festival, we are curious to know what you think...

Jonathan: It was perfect. No other way to describe it really. They were so kind. They are doing it all just right and that's why they're successful. We really enjoyed it.
Jeffrey A. McCormack: Yeah, seriously so good- they made us feel right at home. What a brilliant festival.
Dennis Turner: One of those shows you'll always remember.

Kayleigh: ...And sold out! The reception must have been great?

Jonathan: Oh you know, I wish I had my phone- would have loved to have filmed a video. The reception was incredible!

Kayleigh: That’s so great- and nothing more than you deserve.

How does it feel to look out and not only see fans that have stayed loyal over the decades but also many fans who are clearly very young, yet so dedicated and knowledgeable when it comes to Q5's history?

Jonathan: It’s awesome, I mean when I look at someone, I don’t think about their age, I think "that’s someone who loves music!”
Jeffrey: It’s a family thing and that's what's so great. Everyone together. Age doesn't matter. Where you're from doesn’t matter. All the music, all the classic bands. It’s a family.

Kayleigh: After Headbangers Festival in 2009, Q5 didn't remain as active as people expected them to after such a successful show. Was there a reason why?

Jonathan: We were doing stuff semi-steadily but just in the States. You have to know how hard it is, I mean we went from playing huge venues, packed out with large crowds to… well, no one. 
After we started, people only cared about this new music coming from the underground, 'grunge' and what have you. Which was occurring in the very tiny clubs…everyone was focused on that. Bands like ours weren't getting a look in. But then you also had bands like KISS. They came along and would perform to 20,000 people each night. Lots of bands crashed and burned. 

We spent 10 years or so going through some big changes….with name changes, line up changes, as well as keeping up with other things like social media, no one knew what to expect of it all. So, we carried on playing a lot in Seattle. With three albums over the years, we are so happy with what we have achieved but we couldn’t get that break because we refused to do the ‘grunge thing’.

We stayed true to what we are. Hard rock. And here we are where things are starting to look real good for us and most importantly of all, it’s so much fun.

Kayleigh: 2014 Sweden Rock must be implanted in your memory. Is that when it all exploded for you again?

Jonathan: Well our minds exploded, anyway (laughter). Although, we had an incomplete band then. We had to discuss how we were gonna go forward because we had such a good connection. Social media helped us a lot, and we went from there. However, it all takes time. I wish it could happen overnight but it doesn’t. Radio is dead now and back in the beginning, that was the real shaker and mover.

Kayleigh: So we’ve caught you today on the third date of your European tour- you’ve said you're feeling very tired but how do you feel about your first London show tonight?

Jonathan: Oh, tonight is very special. Tired or not,  this is a very special night. We’ve been waiting for this tour a long time and here we are now!

Kayleigh: Well we know there are a lot of fans just as excited to see you perform tonight.
So, now for an inevitable, albeit important question...we know founder and original guitarist Floyd Rose wishes Q5 well and supports you all in moving forward, however he chooses not to play live anymore. Do you still speak with him regularly? Any chance of any future collaborations?

Jonathan: I literally spoke to him the day before we left. I always call him, I told him to come here to London and asked him to do one song,  just one song, maybe… 'Steel the Light'. I said "come on Floyd!" but he said …."no" (laughter). He does wish us well though and we still talk a lot.
Jeffrey: We wanted to have the blessing of the other guys too...original drummer Gary Thompson for instance… he came to our album release party and said how he actually thought we were tighter than the original line up!

Kayleigh: Well that’s a compliment and a half!

Jeffrey: Sure is- hey, we’re a family!

Q5's first studio album Steel The Light (1984)
Kayleigh: So great! Moving on to discussing your first 2 releases. Steel the Light being the first with its classic, heavy, guitar driven sound making it hugely successful within the underground. How did you feel when releasing When the Mirror Cracks with its more melodic, AOR-esque vibe?

Jonathan: Q5 is Q5. We can do whatever we want! Back in the old days, we were told “great song- but we need a more commercial hit to be on the radio!” so we did write a few, although it always had that Q5 edge.  Our third album is back to that guitar driven sound- back to the heart and roots! It has some of the elements of the second album in there because we’re proud of what we've learnt and it brings it all together.

Kayleigh: Is there any news on your upcoming album? Still set for the end of 2018?

Jonathan: We’re gonna try for then, but when it does come it's going to be amazing!

Kayleigh: We don't doubt it! Any secrets you'd like to share?

Jonathan: Well, it's gonna be seriously guitar driven,  a touch melodic, classic vibe, very hard rock… We've got these two monster guitar players…
Jeffrey:  And what about me? laughter

Kayleigh: Oh you're a monster too, just on a different instrument!

Jeffrey: I've definitely been called worse!

Kayleigh: Any ideas for the album title yet? Or is that under wraps?

Jonathan: None yet!

Kayleigh: Well, we're looking forward to hearing it. Jonathan- have your vocal influences changed over the years?

Jonathan: Oh well I have loads of influences…Sabaton are a favourite. He is no Steve Perry but his vocals are unique and interesting. Different to other influences like Udo for example. I like a voice with a bit of the X-factor.

Kayleigh: And you guys? We always love hearing about people's influences.

Jeffrey: My earliest influence was Liberty DiVitto, also John Bonham, that's a token answer but nobody cannot dispute it. Tommy Aldrich too. When I was 9, I was taking piano lessons, my uncle (who was a professor of piano) knew I was into it as much. He knew I liked KISS so he took me to a concert and as from that moment I said  "I'M DOING THAT!" so thank you to Peter Criss.
James: Man, it's all about Zeppelin…I don’t play like Page, but every time you hear him, you get those goosebumps you know. Also, Eddie Van Halen, Yngwie Malmsteen, George Lynch, Neal Schon… those are my faves for sure.

Kayleigh: So, what's in store for Q5 in the future? Do you have any dreams or goals or are you happy with living in the moment?

Jonathan: My dreams have never changed. I'm doing that right now by playing in London tonight. This, our first UK show is a dream. This is where it started, this a dream. Anything beyond this is something else.

Kayleigh: Well, we are beyond excited for tonight's show and we will be keeping our eyes and ears open and ready for news of a new album on the horizon! 

Visit Q5's offical page at and on facebook for more band news!

Interview: Kayleigh Valentini
Photo: M. Godding

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Interview: Mindless Sinner

Moods are soaring on the second day of Trveheim Festival as we have some time with Mindless Sinner to delve deep into their past and hear their thoughts on the current state of affairs in the world of heavy metal.

Louise: I’m going to start by asking about the very beginning. You’ve had quite a few different names in the past and I wondered if you could tell me a bit about what inspired each of them.

Christer Göransson: The first name was Purple Haze.  It was two of us and two other guys but they didn’t have a singer. They played under that name and then I came along and we changed the name to Genocide after a Judas Priest song because we love Judas Priest. We changed the name to Metal Gods for one gig and then we changed it to Mindless Sinner.

Louise: And was there anything in particular which inspired the final name?

Göransson: It was a friend of ours who came up with the name.  “Why don’t you call yourselves Mindless Sinner”“OK will do!”

Louise: Despite being a bit on and off over the years, you’ve kept a really stable line-up.  How did you manage where other bands didn’t?

Göransson: Why we didn’t kill each other?
Christer Carlson: We do try occasionally (all laughing)
Göransson: This is the same line-up since late ‘84. We’re good friends.
Carlson: We’re good friends and we stayed in the same town – Linköping in Sweden.

Louise: And were you good friends before the band?

All: Yes
Göransson: I didn’t know you (pointing at Jerker Edman)
Jerker Edman: No, you didn’t but when you came along, we became good friends.
Carlson: We’re from the same part of Linköping as well so we went to the same school although we’re a little bit different ages.

Mindless Sinner - The New Messiah
Louise: I’ve read in a couple of other interviews that you’ve described The New Messiah as a follow up to Turn On The Power but with a 2015 touch.  I want to know about that last part, did you try and give the record a modern touch?

Göransson: No, we wanted the record to sound like it was from 1986 but that’s a hard thing because it’s not 1986 anymore.
Carlson: I think the aim was to avoid new touches and to keep it as eighties as possible.
Göransson: We tried to record it as we did back in the day but we did record it digitally which was pretty different to analogue and that’s the 2015 bit.
Carlson: It’s hard to avoid, it’s been many years developing and playing and so that was tough going back but we did good work.

Louise: It’s interesting because so many bands seem like they aren’t as focused on recording albums that sound like they used to.

Göransson: You can’t be stuck in the past, you know. You’ve got to progress and move forward but we have a sound and we wanted to preserve that, with a new touch. We have no aim to sound like another band or like 'new metal'. That’s not our thing, so why should we?

Louise: Can you tell me about the best live show that you played back in the eighties?

Magnus Danneblad: I can’t remember the eighties (laughing).
Edmund: We did a show in our hometown and it turned out to be a big crowd that came along, we didn’t expect that. It was a great gig. The skin on the snare drum broke so we had to cut it short. We only played seven songs, we didn’t have a spare.
Danneblad: That was a great gig, a short gig. It was in a kind of school hall and it was so crowded that they had to take away the temporary wall between the theatre and the dining hall.
Göransson: I like to say that we haven’t done our best gig, yet.
Carlson: Hopefully tonight! And then a better one after that.

Louise: Well the next question was the same but for gigs since 2014. Do any of the shows in recent years stand out?

All: KIT (Keep It True Festival)
Göransson: Yes, KIT was great and we had a great gig in London at Live Evil.
Tommy Viktorsson: I think the first gig we did at Muskelrock. We didn’t have any expectations whatsoever and the crowd was great. It was quite surprising.
Carlson: Funny story there. We had a meet and greet and we hadn’t played for ages. Magnus said “what the f**k are we going to do at a meet and greet, who is going to want to meet and greet us, I’m not going”. We all said “come on, come on, we’ll try it”, and we sat there signing on shoes and people and meeting fans for half an hour, 45 minutes. We didn’t expect that and then the gig followed in the same footsteps.
Danneblad: It was overwhelming.

Louise: How is it with those younger fans who weren’t born yet when you were doing your thing in the eighties. What does that feel like?

Göransson: It’s crazy
Carlson: It’s weird.
Viktorsson: It’s very hopeful for the future, seeing these young people makes me think, actually we did something good back in the eighties, we must have.
Carlson: It’s amazing, the whole scene of this underground type of heavy metal. We went to L.A, London, Athens and wherever you meet people, if they’re young or old, they sing along to your songs and it’s hard to grasp.

Mindless Sinner in 1985 (via Mindless Sinner Facebook)
Louise: Taking those two time periods, in the eighties and now. Are either of them better or more fun than the other. How do you compare them?

Göransson: Now or then? It’s better now.  Because we are better musicians, we play better, we sound better and the crowds are bigger.
Carlson: We’re doing the gigs we never got to do in the eighties. There weren’t any opportunities to go around the world the way we have the opportunity to do now. It’s a dream coming true. We’re around 50 (years) all of us, so it’s a weird feeling. We couldn’t dream that this could happen.
Edmund: This isn’t even the dream we used to have, this is a bonus.
Carlson: I guess it was more frustration in the eighties. We had a record contract quite young, 15 or 16 years old. We had big beliefs and nothing really came through. We did quite a lot of gigs and a few albums but I guess this is when the dream comes true.

Louise: Since the end of the eighties had you always wanted to get Mindless Sinner back on stage?

Göransson: No, we didn’t but some things happened that made this opportunity for us. So it was not planned. We split up in 1990, Tommy left and then the four of us had a band called Skinny Horse with the drummer from Axe Witch. We made an album back in ‘93 and then we split up as well.
Carlson: We all stayed in the same town, we had contact. Me and Jerker also played in other bands and so everyone kept on playing. We had a bit of contact so we thought, let’s grab a beer and play a few old songs.
Göransson: We thought we’d play this gig (Muskelrock) and that would be it. But then more opportunities came along. We’ve always been friends even if we weren’t playing together. We’ve never had any hard feelings.
Carlson: When we broke up in the nineties, everyone wanted to do their own things. We were finished for that moment.
Göransson: It was strange you know, because when we first met to play the gig, we rehearsed, we plugged in and started to play and it was like we had never stopped.

Louise: During those years that you weren’t active with Mindless Sinner, have you still been going to heavy metal shows, listening to new bands? Has it still been a part of your life?

All: Yes
Carlson: You can add that there’s a lot of things happening privately with families and kids.
Edmund: Life came along and that’s good. It’s still always been a part of our lives. 

Louise: Have your musical interests changed much over the years?

Danneblad: New music always comes along year after year but you still have your roots somewhere in there.

Louise: Are there any young bands who you can see reaching the potential or quality of the likes of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Dio?

Göransson: That’s a hard question.
Carlson: There’s loads of good bands around and all these great old bands are still touring too. Then guys like us turn up and with all the new bands and all the revival bands it gets so crowded and there’s so many good bands around so we’re so grateful and thankful that we get asked to play here or wherever else.
Göransson: I can’t see it. The new bands, they are great but still nothing like the old ones but there’s plenty of music I haven’t heard.
Carlson: Of course there’s going to be great new bands and new icons but I think in this genre the old bands are iconic and have a special status.
Göransson: The music scene is different now. We didn’t have the internet in those days. Now anyone can record anything in their living room and everyone around the world can hear it. Back then we were sending tapes to record companies.
Danneblad: Back then you had mail correspondence all over the world. You would write to a fan and maybe you’d get a response in a couple of months. It was a really different time to communicate.

Louise: Do you prefer that as it is these days? Or how it was back in the day sending tapes ?

Göransson: It’s yes and no. Because there’s so many bands now. There were many back then as well but it’s so easy now for everyone to send out their song, recorded at home. The amount can make it drown a bit, it can be easy to get lost a little bit. Of course it’s positive and also positive for us. That’s how we’re here now.

Louise: Is there anything for us to watch out for coming up with Mindless Sinner?

Göransson: We’ve got a new album in the works. It will be out next year sometime.
Carlson: It’s going to follow the footsteps and progress we’ve made before. We can’t be standing in one place all the time but it’s going to have a lot of good things from the past and other things to bring it along and a little bit forwards.
Göransson: We have recorded everything but the vocals so that’s next.

Louise: And that’s everything, thank you so much guys.

Carlson: We could just add what we feel about coming to places like this. It’s amazing to find all these volunteers and of course we chip in as a band too. There’s no money in this scene. Everyone’s working hard, there’s a lot of love and positive vibes at these places across the whole circuit. That’s probably the most important thing.
Göransson: They’re working hard for free, for the love of the music.

Mindless Sinner at Keep It True Festival 2015
( photo from Mindless Sinner Facebook)

Stay up-to-date with Mindless Sinner via their Facebook page.

Writer: Louise Dornan

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Live Review: Saxon @ Newcastle City Hall, Newcastle

Newcastle City Hall was opened in 1927 and has a long and storied history as the city’s first dedicated concert venue. The hall has hosted The Byrds, Lindisfarne and Emerson, Lake and Palmer among others but has a particularly niche place in the city’s musical history when it comes to heavy metal.  A keen observer will recognise the concert hall interior in Iron Maiden’s video for 'Number Of The Beast' and the majority of Motorhead’s seminal No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith was recorded here. Joey DeMaio and Ross The Boss reportedly met here at a Sabbath gig, forming the core of Manowar's classic lineup.  This rich history can seem odd or even jarring to the visitor who walks through the fancy portico into a 100% seating grandiose concert hall  for a heavy metal show, but the building has its own considerable charm and one gets the sense that bands who played here “back in the day” and keep coming back to do so out of a genuine affection- adding to the atmosphere.  That’s certainly the case with tonight’s triple-header, a sort of 'coda' to Saxon’s Autumn tour of the UK, with Wayward Sons and Doro in tow.

Wayward Sons kick the evening off.  Fronted by ex-Little Angels frontman Toby Jepson, this five piece are every inch the gestalt Planet Rock band and deliver everything that description entails:  Simple, energetic blues-tinged rock occasionally flirting with AOR (of course they’re signed to Frontiers).  While not necessarily earth-shaking, the band acquit themselves well, clearly have a lot of enthusiasm and deliver a solid set, whetting the early arrivals’ appetite for the rest of the evening.  Set highlights are most certainly “Crush” and “Until The End”.

The uninitiated and largely unfamiliar author doesn't quite know what to expect from scene veteran Doro Pesch.  Doro quickly appraises the City Hall of the situation: Launching onto the stage and into Warlock’s “I Rule The Ruins” she establishes there is to be 0% fucking around here.  The majority of Doro’s set consists of Warlock songs which serves to ensure continuing familiarity and participation from the expanding audience, played with the consummate professionalism one expects from a well-seasoned band such as this.  Some crowd banter early on harks back to a previous appearance by Pesch with Warlock in Newcastle supporting the late, great, Ronnie James Dio which feeds into favourite “Burning The Witches”.  By the time “All We Are” starts up the concert hall is buzzing and the grandeur of the place feels more in keeping with what’s happening on stage. Doro follows with “All For Metal” and closes out her set with “Revenge”, leaving Newcastle set up for main event.

Saxon approach tonight’s show with an admirable confidence in their new material for a band originating in NWOBHM. Thunderbolt, 2018’s release, boasts six inclusions in tonight’s set alongside a broad spread of classic numbers.  The title track opens the set and is swiftly followed by second album track “Nosferatu” and relatively recent “Sacrifice”, leading into signature song “Motorcycle Man” to much appreciation.  The only really questionable song choice of the night is “Predator” – understandably present in the set but slightly throwing the watcher off due to the ill-advised growl section originally handled by Amon Amarth’s Johan Hegg – it doesn’t really suit the song and takes one out of the moment.  In the grand scheme of things this is a minor mis-step and the band quickly course-correct with “Strong Arm of The Law”.  The rest of the set continues to flow well throughout, with Biff Byford’s now-classically “cozy” sense of showmanship and banter (an admiral commitment to the correct, ie. Northern pronunciation of the word “bath” is shown in a brief exchange with drummer Nigel Glockler), with references to previous shows at the Hall and a touching tribute to Lemmy and Motorhead leading into “They Played Rock ‘n’ Roll”.  We move into the home stretch after this:  “And The Bands Played On”, “Sons of Odin”, “Never Surrender” and “Princess of The Night” close the main set but Saxon aren’t done yet.  It’s tough to imagine a stronger encore selection from their back catalogue than a powerful “The Eagle Has Landed” leading into “Heavy Metal Thunder”, “Wheels of Steel” and “Denim and Leather”.  For the final number Byford encourages a couple of denim vest donations from the crowd who oblige him eagerly, setting up for some solid call-and response on the chorus to end the night. 

The word that frequently comes to mind with Saxon is 'consistency'.  Consistency in quality of recorded material, consistency of competent live performance. This night demonstrates that in a nutshell.  Saxon remind the audience, once again why they stood out within the British metal scene of the early '80s and continue to enjoy a respectable profile within the scene now.  Crackin'.

Score: 4/5

Writer: Craig Stewart

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Connoisseur's Choice: Glenn Hughes

Hailing from Cannock in Staffordshire, Glenn Hughes has carved out a fine career in music over the years, and continues to do so. Dubbed 'The Voice Of Rock', this man's vocals are instantly recognisable on every record he has been a part of, bringing to them a unique form of soul-tinged rock. His craft has only improved with age, as you can hear in the progression from the young raw voice in Trapeze, through to the smoothness in Deep Purple, his solo records, right up to Black Country Communion.

One of the harder working characters on the scene, Glenn Hughes brings his talent to venues across the world, blessing our ears with sublime vocals and bass playing. His latest tour, 'Glenn Hughes Performs Classic Deep Purple Live', pays homage to one of the greatest rock bands in musical history, as well as acknowledging the part he played in contributing to their achievements. Deep Purple fans of the Mk III and Mk IV eras will be delighted to hear a set consisting purely of Deep Purple tracks, which Hughes has either recorded in the studio or performed live (therefore including a couple of Mk II tracks). Hughes has not performed an exclusive Purple set since their last show in Liverpool, 1976.

Looking forward to the London date of this tour on October 15th, we take a look at Glenn Hughes' finest work. It's certainly a hard task to choose only a handful of records from such a vast and impressive back catalogue.

Trapeze - You Are The Music... We're Just The Band (1972)

Trapeze initially made themselves known to the world as a five-piece band from the West Midlands. In 1970 they released a rambling, mildly psychedelic debut before shedding two members and becoming the hard rock trio that recorded the powerful Medusa LP. They were to reach their peak in 1972 with the album we're looking at here, You Are The Music... We're Just The Band.

While subsequent history has ensured that Trapeze is very much regarded as an early vehicle for the talents of Glenn Hughes, it would be wrong to overlook the songwriting skills of Mel Galley - who would later appear briefly in one of the many line-ups of Whitesnake - not to mention his magnificent guitar tone and tasteful playing. On drums Dave Holland supports their efforts with a genuinely musical approach that is a far cry from the meat and potatoes style he was later to pursue with Judas Priest in the early 1980s.

Finding a weak spot on this album is near impossible, it's a profoundly satisfying experience for the listener throughout. Primarily the music fits comfortably into the hard rock bag, but there are elements of heavy funk and soul too. The opening track 'Keeping Time' grabs attention with an early example of double bass drumming. At the other end of the spectrum, we have the elegant 'Coast To Coast'. For the most part though, it's thick riffs and hefty grooves all the way, with Hughes reaching some terrifying vocal heights.  (GC)

Deep Purple - Burn (1974)

The double departure of Ian Gillan and Roger Glover in 1973 may have given Deep Purple fans cause for concern, but with the determination of Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord and Ian Paice, the band refused to fold. They had already started looking for a replacement bassist (which may have caused Roger to bail out before he was removed), and went on to recruit Trapeze vocalist/bassist Glenn Hughes. Initially dubious, he was persuaded by the notion that they would enlist the singing talents of Free frontman, Paul Rodgers and vocal duties would fall between the pair of them. Alas Rodgers, although initially intrigued, declined the offer and went on to form his own band Bad Company. This could be seen as a blessing in disguise, as without the chance to hold auditions for a second 'lead vocalist', unknown Saltburn-by-the-Sea based singer David Coverdale may not have come into the mix.

The deep, husky, bluesy voice of Coverdale harmonised with Hughes' cleaner and higher pitched style, creating a vocal partnership that could have been made in heaven. Burn thrust Deep Purple back into the limelight with a bang; the opening self-titled track an absolute powerhouse of frenzied riffs layered with keys over a tight rhythm section. The hard rock style of Deep Purple got an injection of soul from their new recruits, creating the embryonic sound that was to be explored on later albums. Burn truly showcased the talents of each member, as the vibe throughout the whole album flows seamlessly, from groovy tracks such as 'Lay Down, Stay Down' and 'You Fool No One' to the stunning slow-burners 'Mistreated' and 'Sail Away'. Watch Deep Purple's set at 1974's 'California Jam' if you can. You wont be disappointed by the pure magic.  (MG)

Deep Purple - Stormbringer (1974)

The funky stylings of this Burn follow up might have resulted in the departure of an unimpressed Ritchie Blackmore but to our ears, it’s pure groovin’ bliss. The combined lead vocals of Hughes and Coverdale weave a special kind of magic throughout the entire record - from the climactic fever of the opening title track right through to the touching and truly beautiful closing ballad ‘Soldier Of Fortune’. There’s plenty of soul present, courtesy of Glenn Hughes, particularly in the form of ‘Holy Man’ and ‘Hold On’ and although Blackmore has no praise for the album himself, as Hughes puts it, “Ritchie Blackmore is damn funky, whether he likes it or not. He played wonderfully on the album.” Deep Purple backbone Paice, of course takes to the new sound like a duck to water as does the ever impressive Lord. This writer would challenge anyone who claims that funk has no place in hard rock to get through Stormbringer without breaking into song and dance.  (LD)

Deep Purple - Come Taste The Band (1975)

The one and only album to come out of the Mk IV line-up and the last Deep Purple album from the 1970s, Come Taste The Band is a musical triumph in its own right. Although there have been debates as to whether it can be considered a true Deep Purple album, there is no doubting the quality of musicianship involved. Here at Born Again, it's an absolute favourite.

Once again finding themselves back at square one with the exit of Ritchie Blackmore (one of the band's founding members), the vital position of 'lead guitarist' needed to be filled. Enter the highly rated Tommy Bolin, fresh from a brief stint in the post-Joe Walsh line-up of James Gang. There are conflicting stories of how he came to be in the band, but free from the limiting (albeit, genius) shackles of Blackmore, the band was allowed to explore the outer reaches of their style, with Bolin bringing in even more funk to compliment the sound that Glenn Hughes contributed. Together with the founding duo of Lord and Paice and the now unique dual lead vocals of Hughes and Coverdale, the line-up was complete again.

The recording process and, more pointedly, the subsequent tour were affected to some extent by the personal demons of certain members of the band. However, despite that, the album demonstrates the remarkable array of talent in the group. The stellar opening track 'Comin' Home' setting the guitar-driven tone of the album. Although very different to the classically-influenced Blackmore, Bolin's laid back but intricate playing style propelled the 'new' Deep Purple sound admirably. The fun-loving 'Gettin' Tighter' is a highlight on the album for Hughes as he takes centre stage with vocals, and even drives a funk-inspired break with Bolin halfway through the track.  As well as backing vocals on 'Comin' Home', Bolin also contributed a lead vocal to the mid-section of' 'Dealer'.

Lord's exquisite piano playing coupled with the emotionally powerful vocals of Hughes join in perfect harmony on the first part of 'This Time Around / Owed To 'G', which then leads to a magnificent piece of guitar work by Bolin, driven by the force that is Ian Paice. If we were to sit here and pick out the best tracks on Come Taste The Band, every single song would make an appearance on the list, but one that maybe stands out above the rest is the album closer 'You Keep On Moving'. What an absolutely perfect ending to a brilliant album, a masterpiece which was written by Hughes and Coverdale for 1974's Burn, yet rejected by Blackmore at the time. Much to our auditory delight, it was finally committed to vinyl. And what a show-stopping number it is.  (MG)

Glenn Hughes - Play Me Out (1977)

After the disintegration of Deep Purple Mk IV in 1976, Glenn Hughes returned to the studio to record a solo album that pushed his love of soul music to the fore. Originally surfacing in 1977, Play Me Out received little in the way of promotion and the few Purple fans that encountered it often had trouble relating to the absence of hard rock.

For these reasons and others that we will touch on here, it would be fair to consider the LP something of a lost classic. It has aged well and exudes an air of sincerity. Hughes was clearly making the music that he felt deeply, regardless of whatever expectations some might have thrust on him. Much has been made of his supposed fixation with the work of Stevie Wonder, and while that influence - as well as an apparent fondness for Donny Hathaway - is hard to deny, this is a recording that could only have been made by Glenn Hughes.

The writing, arrangements and performance reveal a supremely gifted artist at work, one unafraid to follow his instincts. If you love the Coverdale/Hughes era of Purple and have yet to investigate Play Me Out, then you know exactly what to do now.  (GC)

Hughes/Thrall – Hughes/Thrall (1982)

Five years after the release of his solo album Play Me Out, Hughes got together with former Pat Travers guitarist Pat Thrall in Los Angeles for a collaboration that resulted in the appropriately-titled Hughes/Thrall album. Taking Hughes into a different direction, now with added synth, and rock/pop driven tracks, his distinctive vocals still stand out; soulful, tinged with a rock edge, ever adaptable to any style of music. Although the album failed to make much impact upon its release, it's definitely an over-looked gem of its time. From melodic and catchy tracks such as 'The Look In Your Eyes' to power-driven ones like 'I Got Your Number' and 'Muscle And Blood' (the latter which often makes an appearance in Glenn Hughes' live solo sets), Hughes/Thrall epitomizes the classic sound of radio rock from that era. Let's not forget the brilliant guitar playing of Pat Thrall. The album could have gone further with more promotion, but unfortunately due to continuing problems with drugs, momentum for the record was stunted.  (MG)

PhenomenaPhenomena (1985)

The first time someone recommended Phenomena to me, I had no idea that Glenn Hughes was featured on it. Until that first echoey vocal line from ‘Kiss of Fire’ sounded, it immediately became one of my most favoured albums. Featuring the likes of Mel Galley, Cozy Powell, Ted McKenna and Don Airey (to name but a few) this album is made up of many respected rock musicians. Full of ultimate AOR goodness and displaying so much talent in each individual instrument consistently on every track. Songs like ‘Still the Night’ and ‘Dance With the Devil’ are melodic masterpieces, but it’s Glenn who once again brings that raw sentiment to surface. Like no other.  (KG)

Black Sabbath - Seventh Star (1986)

Never heard Seventh Star? Just one spin and you’ll be sold. If there’s one thing Glenn knows how to do, it’s how to collaborate and this time with none other than Tony Iommi - the guitar master who has this relentless skill of turning everything he touches to gold. And when you throw Hughes into the mix, well, you have an album like no other. This 'Black Sabbath' album however, is criminally over-looked and underrated which is a real shame. It has a truly dark, cutting atmosphere which can be incomparable. Darkness, power and passion runs through Hughes’ emotional vocals as each song cuts right through you. Songs like ‘Danger Zone’, ‘Heart On a Wheel’ and ‘In For the Kill’ encompass everything that a Sabbath and/or Purple fan could possibly be looking for, with added depth and feeling. A must-have album!  (KG)

HTP - Hughes, Turner Project (2002)

What do you get when you put two of rock’s most esteemed vocalists together? You get the brilliant Hughes Turner Project… and what a debut album it is! With what could be considered pretty average song writing, the vocals alone make this album what it is. Mind blowing vocal melodies and power from start to finish, both Joe Lynn Turner and Glenn Hughes are the perfect duo... not to mention the addition of Mr John Sykes on ‘Heaven’s Missing an Angel’. It wouldn’t be untrue to admit that Hughes’ vocal range does surpass that of Joe Lynn, particularly as he showcases both his bluesy tones and ability to blow the roof off with his impressive range. Regardless, this is an album worth having in your collection for the vocals alone. Both Joe and Glenn make this album what it is and we’re just waiting for the day they bring these songs to the stage once more!  (KG)

Black Country Communion - Black Country Communion (2010)

Born out of a jam session between Hughes and Joe Bonamassa, Black Country Communion came thundering along in 2010 to assure the world that Mr Hughes had yet more to offer. With Jason Bonham and Derek Sherinian completing the line-up, the self-titled debut is an example to all ‘supergroups’ of how things should be done. Hughes’ vocals are on top form from start to finish, the best they’ve been in many years. His belting out of that soulful power he’s best known for is goosebump inducing. Bonamassa lends this album a sexy, bluesy touch but there’s no shortage of a hard hitting rock sound in his playing. The quality of the music is so consistent here that it’s genuinely difficult to pick out key tracks but at a push, ‘The Great Divide’ and ‘Down Again’ couldn’t fail to hook any listener in.  (LD)

Intro: M Godding
Contributors: M Godding, Kayleigh Griffin, Louise Dornan & George Colwan

Monday, 8 October 2018

Interview: Kee Marcello

Swedish guitar maestro Kee Marcello is back in the UK for his Scaling Up Tour where he'll be performing many tracks from the 1988 Europe album 'Out of this World' and more! 

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Born Again's Kayleigh MG is lucky enough to sit down with the man himself for a good old chin-wag, and to hear what he's got in store for fans as his UK tour commences.

Kayleigh: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us today, Kee! Your upcoming UK tour has been the talk of the town, particularly with you celebrating tracks from Out of this World for the 30th anniversary!

Kee: It's a pleasure- those songs are very special to me so I'm equally excited for the tour!

Kayleigh: Your first advertised show is at the Robin 2 in Bilston, but a little birdie told us you'll be back again at the brilliant Cavern Freehouse for a 'secret gig' on Wednesday 10th October... is that right?

Kee: Ah yeah, I didn't expect too many people to know about is supposed to be a secret show. It's more of a gig to warm-up for the London show you know? A chance to perform to close friends and colleagues and see how things go down. It is a great venue sure... really enjoyed playing there last time I was in town!

Kayleigh: So, as previously mentioned, you'll be treating fans to some of the brilliant tracks from Out of This World to celebrate its 30th anniversary. Were there ever any talks with the Europe guys about collaborating once more to bring this together? You are almost crossing paths with your UK dates...

Kee: No, nothing like that was ever discussed but I'm still on very good terms with the others. I'm just enjoying playing some of the tracks that have only been played a handful of times... overlooked tracks.

Kayleigh: So which of these overlooked gems can we look forward to hearing?

Kee: Songs like 'Sign of the Times' and 'More Than Meets the Eye' are always great to play.. those songs are so overlooked and for me are like well-kept secrets. I can't give too much away but let's just say there's a lot of never-before performed material and a chance to hear some jams with the rest of the band, too.

Kayleigh: Exciting! 'Sign of the Times' live- what a dream! What else can we be expecting to hear from the set?

Kee: There will be songs from Scaling Up as well as a few others in there too.

Kayleigh: Scaling Up is great- also very Europe-esque in it's melodic style with some songs sounding like they could have been squeezed on to Prisoners in Paradise

When song-writing, do you prefer writing as a solo artist or with the thought in mind that these songs will be intended to play with other musicians?

Kee: Good question... I think both have their great points. I mean I love working on my own projects, focusing on the material from birth to delivery, but you can't beat that collaboration you get when working with other musicians. Being a solo artist you get to have the best of both worlds.

Kayleigh: That's great to hear... in comparison to someone like Malmsteen who has the other musicians crammed on the side of the stage with him being at the centre. Is that not something that would interest you?

Kee: Haha! Oh no... Yngwie is great but that's ridiculous. I see it as a band effort- I work with some great musicians... It's so important that you get to gel and work collaboratively.

Kayleigh: So what's next for the Kee Marcello band? Will you be sticking with the melodic rock style? It's most certainly a genre you've put your stamp on. 

Kee: For sure... It's always great to play around with new sounds and I've done that in the past with bands like my '80s band Easy Action, but I won't be going into thrash metal or anything any time soon. 

Kayleigh: Well, if it ain't broke...

Kee- thank you so much for a great chat. To say we are excited for the UK tour is an understatement! We'll look forward to catching you at the Camden Underworld!