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DailyBoom Your Old School Music Authority

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Exclusive Interview: Nick Van Eede of 'Cutting Crew' Embraces the Future While Reimagining His Past on 'Ransomed Healed Restored Forgiven'


ICYMI

I think that one of the coolest things about music is how it affords each and every one of us the ability to travel through time. You know what I mean, that twenty-second song intro that just for a flash of a moment makes you feel like it really is 1987 all over again. Some songs just stay with you, forever imprinted in your mind, following you through life like comfortable old friends, and no amount of passing time changes your love for them. Nick Van Eede, the co-founder, singer and songwriter of Cutting Crew, has created exactly that kind of gift for millions of people worldwide via "(I Just) Died In Your Arms", a song that shot to number one in 1987 and continues to pop up in pop culture to this day.

I think that most people believe that once you "make it" in the music industry you're sort of set for life if you handle your money properly. The actual truth is that the music business is at best, a harsh place to try and exist. You could be at the top of the charts and playing sold-out shows now and in six months you're back to waiting tables or washing dishes. The only solid guarantee is that every star eventually falls from the sky and then it takes talent, timing, and unshakable determination to get back up again. 

In his thirty-five years since starting Cutting Crew, Nick has experienced the highs of sold-out tours, as well as the unimaginable loss of Kevin MacMichael, the secret ingredient (and brilliant guitarist) that helped to balance the band. Despite the losses, a storyteller can never stay quiet for too long and over the last decade or so he has rebuilt the band with a new Cutting Crew co-conspirator, guitarist Gareth Moulton, who has truly honored the past while leaving his own imprint on the music.

The band was steadily gigging until Covid-19 brought the touring industry to a screeching halt, making this the perfect time for that new release that had already been planned. Ransomed Healed Restored Forgiven puts an incredible symphonic twist on a catalog of already beloved songs. It was a risky move but one that Nick completely embraced. We spoke recently about these reimagined classics and Nick was happy to really dig into the details of how this album came to life.


Nick Van Eede on embracing the idea of a symphonic album:

"It was a wonderful thing! Fifty years ago when my granddad would hear me playing guitar in the lounge he would say, 'your songs seem to work well, if only they had an orchestra' and then many years ago when we first got a publishing deal there was always mention of an orchestra. Over the years, I have performed 3 or 4 of the songs maybe 25 times with an orchestra.  Cutting Crew songs aren't better than anyone else's' and they're no worse than anyone elses', but I do kind of write those big melodies, and the layering of our arrangements just begged for it. I've joked about how I've been waiting for the call to do this and then there really was a call out of the blue from a record label to do it (laughing). Then came the million-dollar question of do you do this with songs that are so precious to millions of people and risk making it not as good. I finally decided to jump and so we jumped off the cliff together!!

It was time-consuming and meticulous work. I wish I could sexy it up and tell you that I flew all over the world to make this album but it didn't happen that way (laughing). You know how everyone is doing things now since the world has changed because of this virus?  People are recording remotely or doing concerts from their house, well this was done pre-Covid but really under the same rules because of how scattered we all are. The string arranger was in Manchester, my guitarist is in the middle of England, I'm in the south of England, the orchestra was in Prague, the engineer was in Slovenia and lastly our drummer, he was in Russia. It was quite a task and there were moments in time when we just said, 'f--k it this is just impossible'- like while trying to tell a Russian drummer that the high hat isn't quite right (laughing), those were the tricky bits. The beautiful thing was working with the string arranger, Pete Whitfield, I must say that it was a pleasure and gift for me.

It's not a perfect science because especially the rocking songs like "Any Color", have some great string parts but you can't really layer too much. I grew up playing classical guitar and if you came to my house now I wouldn't be playing rock music, I'd be playing you classical music because I know my composers and I'm pretty deep into them  I love it and sometimes I'm humbled by it you know, I listen to Mahler's "Adagio" and think, well that's it, there's no point in writing another note (laughing). When Pete, our string arrangerwould send me huge manuscripts of notes I'd thank him and remind him that I'm not very good at reading music (laughing), then ask him to send the audio along as well. Only then I would get involved, which he liked. He told me so many acts in the past have hired him and they'd get what they get, so he was happy that I wanted to be involved."



Nick on reimagining Cutting Crew songs after the works of specific composers:

"I have recently worked with quite an acclaimed classical composer in this tiny little village in Sussex where I live. His name is Nigel Crouch and he has always loved "I've Been In Love Before". He insisted that the composer that was the best match was Sibelius and told me to listen to the last movement of Symphony #5. I checked it out and pointed Pete to that and so now on that song you can hear some movements a' la Sibelius.

"The Broadcast" was a risky one to makeover. When the song was first imagined I had this transistor radio and I would never listen to the pop stations. Instead, I'd go right up to the end of the dial on short wave and you'd just get these strange sounds. It would be like propaganda from North Korea or Arabic music and that was my little world at the time. I really wanted to get the feeling of when I was a teen in rural Sussex and so Pete and I both agreed that the style of music was like that of a British composer named Ralph Vaughan Williams. I was at first worried that the song might feel a bit too Broadway but hey, we're reimagining these songs and they're supposed to sound different, right?.

"(I Just) Died In Your Arms", the Reprise, has to be one of the most emotional recordings that I've ever had to do, just me and the orchestra. I think it was done in two takes, just did it and cut the takes together. Those words now as a 62-year-old man mean something completely different to me then when I originally wrote them as a 26-year-old guy. I've lost my father, I've lost my brother, I've lost Kevin my original guitarist and best pal, I have a daughter too- so many things have changed. I've always been good at writing fairly oblique lyrics and something that you can read whatever you want to in it but doing that one as an older guy meant a lot of tears. There were a lot of tissues on the floor (laughing). That song was in the style of Edward Elgar who is probably my favorite British composer. We got his trademark cellos to move around and sound very foreboding yet beautiful at the same time. That will go down as one of the most memorable moments in my entire career.

"Berlin In Winter" is now one of our biggest songs to play live and it stems from a story that you just can't make up. In 1989 when the wall fell, Cutting Crew was on tour and I remember watching the television with Kevin and seeing these amazing images and beautiful human moments. Three days later we were actually playing in Berlin. We had a hit record on their charts and a sold-out tour but only about twenty-five people came to the gig (laughing), quite rightly too. I think we did about six songs and had people onstage with us and then we went down to the wall together and had an incredible time. That has always been one of the abiding memories in my life and this song is an imaginary song about a guy who was sequestered by the Communists to build the wall, lived through all of the atrocities of it and then was there as an old man to see it fall. It's hard to write a story because you have to have a beginning, a middle, and an ending in only three verses, so I'm very proud of that one.

I knew it had to be Russian sounding for this recording,  Pete said  'that's Shostakovitch and I was thinking more Tchaikovsky, something with a haunting, descending cello line and again a quite cold and daunting sound, but definitely a Russian influence.

That time in Berlin, it was a blur and pure joy but no anger. There could have been people coming through from the east, pointing at the policemen or saying 'f--k you' or whatever, but instead it was a beautiful embracing evening. I have a memory of being with a big roadie friend of mine who had a hammer and dinged off a piece of the wall for me and I've still got that here somewhere. It has really stuck with me and I've played in Berlin 20 times at least since then. It's one of my favorite cities in the world. It shows those scars but it has done it very well. It's a special place and they've kept the wall intact in some places so that you can see it. It's just a little wall, not this gigantic thing, but of course, if they tried to cross it back then they would have been shot.

So if I make another million pounds I'd love to buy an apartment there. I'd love to live there as an older guy. Let it be said too that new Germany is a wonderful place. They've never ever tried to sweep it under the carpet, everywhere you go there are memorials to the history of the country. I think I work more there than anywhere else and I love it."



Nick on the legacy of "(I Just) Died In Your Arms":

"I knew it was special because that was reinforced by anyone that heard the really scratchy first demo. I was 25 then and had been writing quite well for about 7 years, so I had other things to compare it with. The longevity of it absolutely staggers me. Ten years after I thought well that was a good run (laughing), twenty years after it was an even better run. It may be 20 million people's worst song in the world but that doesn't take away from the other 200 million people that really like it. I've always just really embraced the song and it's a number one record that has really outlasted a lot of other number one records. I always refer to the song as 'she' and I say that she's my passport, she's like a lover, she's an accidental dinner conversation, she's my bank manager (laughing), so I'm quite happy to have her in my life.

When it came time to do this album I wanted to do this song near the end because I needed to know how we were going to make this album work first. I felt that touching this song was really risky and somehow it just came together. I don't really smoke but I had about ten cigarettes that day and a lot of Johnnie Walker as well to get the vocal right."

Nick on his writing process:

"Well, this is important, I never, ever sit down and tell myself I'm going to write a song about something in particular, like my daughter's blue hair (laughing). It just doesn't work that way. I do have the ability to write very obliquely though and that leaves my lyrics open to interpretation in a myriad of ways.

It has to hit a very high bar that I set for myself. I won't put anything out there in writing that I view as just a filler song. I'm always proud of my albums and while you don't have to like every song, they've hit my bar and that is always in the back of my mind. At the same time, when you give birth to something you must never share it too soon. Just let it roll and if it starts sounding a little like "Hey Jude", as an example, don't worry, it might not end up sounding anything like "Hey Jude". Don't get scared, it's just not there yet, and don't kill it too soon.

I really have to sit there and find that muse though. I usually write on the keyboards because I love them becauseI don't play them very well, so I have all sorts of happy accidents because I don't know what the f--k I'm doing (laughing). It's also all very phonetic and I've been brave enough to at times just make sounds that kind of hit with the music. Once you're really off and running then the actual lyrics just seem to pour out and you can be done with it even in an hour because you found what has rooted you to the song.

Also, I'll warn you, if during the course of this conversation you say something to me that I absolutely love it'll be written down and transferred to my ten-meter long piece of wallpaper that I sometimes stick up in my studio.  It has my little catchphrases, titles and sayings that I really like and so while creating something I can look up and see all of these possibilities. It's my responsibility as a songwriter to keep track of possibilities."



Nick on striking gold twice with guitarists' Kevin MacMichael and Gareth Moulton:

"When I found Kevin all those years ago it was like a good marriage because everything was easy, no egos when wrote together. He was my editor and very good at taking my straightforward jolly lyrics and making them darker. He would put some negativity in there (laughing) and it's what was needed. When I spoke at his funeral I think I judged the mood right and told that story, adding that if Kevin had his way that song would have been called "(I Just) Lived In Your Arms".  So to find Gareth Moulton after having already found a Kevin was just astonishing. He has to tip his hat to what Kevin did while at the same time being himself and he has done that masterfully. Gareth does all of the sensational guitar playing on the album. He's my best friend and to find somebody like that is so special."

Nick on embracing whatever comes next:

"We have had 22 gigs canceled so far this year, including one in Trinidad, plus Switzerland, Japan, and everything else. There is still a show scheduled for Budapest and one in Tel Aviv but there are no flights. Also, if I go then when I come home I'll have to quarantine for fourteen days, so playing requires real thought. That said, we're very clever humans and so I imagine we'll figure it all out in the end. Things are going to be different and I'm ready to embrace it. I love doing the unplugged things and so maybe Gareth and I will just be dueting for a while and telling the stories behind the songs. When we do the rock shows he always tells me to stop talking (laughing), but I enjoy telling the stories too.

In spite of all of the awful things, there are so many beautiful young people coming through in this world and I'm totally encouraged by them. They'll lead the way towards whatever is next for us all in this crazy world."

Get your own copy of Ransomed Healed Restored Forgiven at Cutting Crew's official site.  Check out their Facebook & Twitter for gig updates and behind-the-scenes fun.




Wednesday, July 8, 2020

90's Nostalgia: Lisa Fisher- 'How Can I Ease the Pain'


All alone, on my knees I pray
For the strength to stay away
In and out, out and in you go
I feel your fire
Then I lose my self control
How can I ease the pain
When I know your coming back again
And how can I ease the pain in my heart

I have to admit, I had completely forgotten about Lisa Fisher's "How Can I Ease The Pain" until MTV Classic played it's stunning video the other day. Whatever I was doing at the time, I stopped to watch every second of it. This, is easily one of the very best ballads of the 90's. When it was released back in 1991 Fisher kind of skyrocketed to success. She was the IT girl and was expected to follow "How Can I Ease The Pain" with years of equally gut-wrenching ballads. Her Grammy win for the track only reinforced that notion.

So where has Fisher been for the last 25 years? The answer is everywhere. She has toured, dueted and provided backing vocals for Tina Turner, The Rolling Stones, Patti Labelle, Chaka Khan... you get the idea. She also does tour on her own and sounds even better live. Few songs from the 90's connect with heartbreak quite like "How Can I Ease The Pain".

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Asia- 'Only Time Will Tell'


"I see it now
Becomes so clear
Your insincerity
And me all starrey-eyed
You'd think that I would have known by now
Now, sure as the sun will cross the sky
This lie is over
Lost, like the tears that used to tide me over"



If you're a classic rock fan then you absolutely have to own Asia's self-titled debut release from 1982. The band formed in 1981 and in my mind, they are one of my generation's first supergroups, with Steve Howe and Geoff Downes of Yes, John Wetton of King Crimson and Carl Palmer of Emerson, Lake & Palmer all joining forces.  That roster of talent could only lead to more success and that's exactly what Asia found.

Songs like "Heat of the Moment" and "Only Time Will Tell" did very well on the charts and they got tons of radio play.  The album itself went to number one in a handful of countries and it remains their best selling effort. More importantly, it sounded amazing then and it still does now. Asia is one of those progressive groups that has always had a unique sound, the kind that I can still pick out now as soon as I hear it. 

"Only Time Will Tell" has always been the song that jumps out at me the most. Check out the video below!

Monday, July 6, 2020

Currently Booming: Apollonia 6- 'Manic Monday' (Demo)


The untimely death of Prince has lead to a lot of interesting nuggets circulating across the internet over the last few years. One of the more interesting things that I've stumbled onto is this demo of "Manic Monday" that was recorded (and never released) by Apollonia 6. Prince originally wrote it for his then-lover Apollonia and her girl group but when their popularity kind of tanked after Purple Rain he instead decided to give it to another girl group- of course The Bangles. We now know that this song launched The Bangles career almost overnight. Take a listen to the demo below, do you think Apollonia 6 would have fared nearly as well?


Daily Boom Lost Hit: Robbie Nevil - 'C'est La Vie'

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Exclusive Interview: Queensryche's Michael Wilton is 'Beyond Words' Over Reaction to New Music from 'The Verdict'

(Official Queensryche Promo Shot)

Since Covid-19 has brought summer gigs to a screeching halt we are flashing back to some of the best of the best content here at DailyBOOM.

ICYMI- 

Queensryche's latest release, "Dark Reverie", off of their forthcoming album The Verdict (out March 1) has the band's longtime fans dying to hear more. The buzz on this effort is nothing but positive and the guys are counting down the days until they get to hit the road to support their newest "baby". Steve and I had a chance to chat with Queensryche founder Michael Wilton this week and his excitement is more than a little infectious!

DailyBOOM: The last time we spoke you were finishing up work on the new Queensryche album and you were dying for everyone to hear it. You now have two singles out, "Man The Machine" and "Dark Reverie" and they are just beyond fantastic. How are you feeling now that we're actually hearing the new music?

Michael Wilton: My expectations have been flooded. The response is way more than I could have ever anticipated and it has taken off so much better than I could have ever hoped for. We knew we had something special and it becomes your baby, you just never know how people are going to actually perceive it. So it was released to the press and all of the interviews that I've done have just been filled with positive vibrations, which is just incredible. I'm just beyond words.

DailyBOOM: You said that you guys knew that you had something special, so take us back to the studio. How did this one come together differently?

MW: The whole beginning process was an arduous task because when we started pre-production with our producer Zeus there were only a couple of songs that were in demo form and near completion. Everything else was in scattered bits and pieces of riffs and everything so that in itself was a big challenge. It was also one of the most gratifying experiences that I've had since the early '80s. Going through each song, just pulling the deepest and most creative elements out of each individual and building each song with lots of thought. Getting it to the point where everybody was happy with the sound took probably the first two weeks of pre-production and then the next two weeks were spent learning the songs before finally recording the songs. It was quite a task.

Making things more challenging was the fact that Scott (Rockenfield) couldn't play on this album so we had to get a drummer. Todd LaTorre had to get the rust off his drumsticks and he had to write the album on the drums as well as the lyrics. You can imagine the organizational nightmare (laughing) but you know, we believed in it. Zeus was the guy kind of orchestrating everything and we had to get a midi drum kit into the studio so Todd could play along and learn or write the parts. It was just mind-blowing but during this whole process, the ideas and energy were fantastic. It was all of us at the top of our game just devoting so much of our own creative elements to this album. You don't realize until after you're done that these songs are turning into monsters. We're just so proud of them.

(Official Queensryche Promo Shot)

DailyBOOM: It sounds like Todd has really stepped up his musical game this time out.

MW: Yes! As a musician, he's growing like you would not even believe. He's more comfortable and it shows. Todd has definitely stepped up his game obviously because he had to write drum parts now too. He gets to really let loose (laughing). The writing process with everybody is amazing. I think the band as a whole believes in our own creativity and so we're really giving our all. It's crazy but when all is said and done we can sit back and say, 'Wow! We created that!'

DailyBOOM: Do you foresee Scott returning to the band?

MW: We don't know. He is on a different path right now and raising a child so we'll wait and see. The door is always open. People change and they want to do different things so they need some time and their privacy. Casey Grillo has been on tour with us for the last two years and he actually played drums on two of the extra songs included on our bonus cd. We did acoustic versions of "I Dream in Infrared" and "Open Road" and he did all of the percussion on both those. He's a great drummer, really well-rounded and he has a wide palette in his musical style. He's filling big shoes and he's doing a great job. The fans really love him and he is scheduled to be on the road with us again this year.


DailyBOOM: I have to say, "Dark Reverie" has us really excited. It just seems like every note is so perfectly placed and balanced.

MW: It's the same with everyone that I talk to! I've heard that the flow of the album is great and that listeners can really tell that each song has so much thought that has been put into it. So many different positive comments and it's just mind-blowing to think that we've actually accomplished exactly what we set out to capture with this. I think that on March first when The Verdict is released, it's really going to impact the fans just as it did us last year.

Check out Queensryche's official site for tickets, merch & more!



Friday, July 3, 2020

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Expose`- 'Seasons Change'


But leaves turn brown and fade
Ships sail away
You long to say a thousand words
But seasons change

If you've been reading Daily Boom for awhile then you already know that I'm a really unapologetic fan of many of the 80's girl groups, like Expose`. Today's throwback just so happens to be their very first number one hit, "Seasons Change", which topped Billboard's Hot 100 on this very week back in 1988.

"Seasons Change" was the fifth single off of Expose's Exposure album which was released in January of 1987. Since the girls were primarily marketed as a dance band and are often credited as freestyle artists it seems that maybe the team behind them didn't expect a ballad to chart well. Either that or they knew that they were saving the best for last.

This song drags me right back to that first high school breakup and I bet it takes a lot of you guys to a similar place, right? Nearly 30 years later I love how timeless "Seasons Change" is. The only thing that gives a clue that it might be an 80's track is that now infamous sax. Back then every great song had a sax solo and honestly, it's one of the things that I miss the most from 80's music!

Oh and an interesting nugget of nostalgia from this video. Gioia Bruno had just found out that she was pregnant with her daughter shortly before filming this!

Daily Boom Lost Hit: Mick Jagger - 'Just Another Night'

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Level 42 - 'Lessons In Love'


"I'm not proud, I was wrong
And the truth is hard to take
I felt sure we had enough
But our love went overboard
Lifeboat lies lost at sea
I've been trying to reach your shore
Waves of doubt keep drowning me
All the dreams that we were building
We never fulfilled them
Could be better, should be better
For lessons in love"

We all have those songs that, for whatever reason, we just love and "Lessons In Love" by Level 42 falls into that category for me. It wasn't the band's most successful single when it topped the charts at number 12 back in 1987 (that honor goes to "Something About You" which reached number 7 the previous year) but it has always stuck in my head. The lyrics are all about screwing up a relationship and I'm pretty sure that my 15-year-old self had done exactly the same thing at that point in time, making it pretty much "my" song. 

The thing is that "Lessons In Love" could easily have been (and probably was) a lot of peoples' songs because who hasn't been there. The best lessons are those learned the hard way and Level 42 spells it out perfectly. I've always thought it was more than a little ironic that this song's melody makes me happy while the lyrics are a bit somber. Check out the video below. Do you remember this one?

Daily Boom Lost Hit: Ace - 'How Long'

Monday, June 29, 2020

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: The Church- 'Reptile'


"Too dangerous to keep
Too feeble to let go
And you want to bite the hand
Shoulda stopped this long ago
Go now, you've been set free
Another month or so you'll be gorging on me
With your lovely smile
I see you slither away with your skin and your tail
Your flickering tongue and your rattling scales
Like a real reptile."


The Church is an Australian band that formed way back in 1980. Original members Marty Willson-Piper, Peter Koppes, Richard Ploog, and Steve Kilbey on vocals finally broke through on the American charts eight years later with their album Starfish. "Reptile" did pretty well on Billboard's modern rock chart and it's a song that I've always loved. The Church is technically an alternative group but their music is considered psychedelic and dream pop. Dreamy is really the only way that I can describe the guitar work. It just sucks you in and then the rapid-fire chorus just totally delivers.
I love when a song makes such an impact on you that even decades later you remember exactly where you were the first time that you heard it. "Reptile" is one of those for me. Check out the live performance video below!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: D-Mob featuring Cathy Dennis 'C'Mon And Get My Love'


 I was on Facebook yesterday and saw a posting that reminded me of a long forgotten song. "C'Mon and Get My Love" was the track that introduced us to Cathy Dennis way back in 1989.

This thing was a club kid's dream and Dennis had a string of hits off of her Move To This album, all in a pretty similar vein. She released a follow up a few years later and then appeared to disappear from the charts. While she's not front and center onstage now Dennis has actually had an extremely successful career writing and producing pop songs. She is responsible for penning such tracks as Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You Out of My Head" and Britney Spears "Toxic".

Dennis has worked with just about every major pop princess within the last 15 years, but check her out here in her video debut.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Timex Social Club - 'Rumours'


"How do rumors get started
They're started by the jealous people
And they get mad seeing something
They had and somebody else is holding."

The year was 1986 and rumors were a topic that any teenage girl was familiar with. Either you spread them, listened to them or were the subject of a nasty little story that was circulating, especially if you were in high school. When Timex Social Club's "Rumors" was released not only was it a huge dance hit, but it became kind of a sing-a-long for every teen girl that I knew. The fact that it landed in the top ten of Billboard's Hot 100 solidified the notion that this song was something that the masses connected to. Check out the video below. Is it one of those songs that you still know all of the lyrics to?

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Exclusive Interview: Foreigner's Tom Gimbel Talks the 'Juke Box Heroes Tour' and More

Photo: Cate Meighan

Since Covid-19 is preventing any new gigs DailyBOOM is flashing back to some of our favorites from previous years, plus some interviews that are oldies but goodies! Enjoy this flashback!

ICYMI

Chances are that if you're a rock fan you already know who multi-instrumentalist Tom Gimbel is. He started playing the drums as a young child and eventually that early rhythmic base turned him into the musical virtuoso that he is today. After touring with Aerosmith for several years beginning in the late '80s, Tom joined Foreigner back in 1995 and has loved every minute of it. The band puts his talents to great use and in any given show you'll see him moving effortlessly between guitar, keys and of course that magical saxophone.

Foreigner kicked off their Juke Box Heroes Tour with Whitesnake and Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Evening earlier this month and I was fortunate to steal a few minutes of Tom's time before the Jones Beach, NY show. What ensued was a conversation over coffee and blueberry muffins (although miles apart) that was sprinkled with serious laughter. The only thing more entertaining than Tom's playing might just be his personality. He is clearly the guy that makes friends with everyone in the room- but only if he wants to.

(Photo provided by Tom Gimbel )


Cate Meighan: So, you're one week into the Juke Box Heroes Tour, how is it going so far?
.
Tom Gimbel: The shows have been beyond our wildest dreams. It's so good and we're having such a great time. We're with two other bands, Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Evening and Whitesnake.   Jason Bonham was in Foreigner as our drummer for about three years and we just toured with his band last year so they're a ton of fun and we've known the Whitesnake guys forever.  It's like being in rock n' roll band camp on the road, like a little fraternity (laughing). It's just a fun summer tour with really spectacular staging and wonderful weather so far. Mick Jones is on top of his game, Kelly Hansen (lead vocalist) is singing as well as ever and everyone else sounds great so we're having the time of our lives.

CM: What defines a great show for you?

TG:  I think it's when the band is really clicking together. There's honestly never a bad night for us. We have good nights and then we have great nights. A lot of times it's the sound on stage like if you get on a cement floor the sound can be harsh and brittle. The way the room is designed and the energy of the crowd, everything contributes. When the sound is good and we're all grooving because the audience is into it, those are the ingredients for a great night.

CM: When you were younger did you ever see your career unfolding the way that it has?

TG: When you're young you have all these dreams of fame and fortune. I was never so interested in fame, but fortune? Well, that was interesting (laughing). I really hoped and believed that if I worked super hard and had a little bit of luck, good things would happen and that's really still my feeling. I work hard and hope for the best, and the good things have been pretty consistent.

When you're young and you just want to be a musician, you really don't think about what you'll be doing this many years later. Or if you do you think you'll be a billionaire, retired by the pool, racing horses or something (laughing). In actuality, the world has changed and real-life rolled in and that important music kind of became free. The world changes and you just adapt to things. The CD business kind of crumbled and people are acquiring music in different ways so you have to think of other ways to create income. That's why you see guys starting their own tequila company, coffee line or hot sauce.

(Photo Credit: Karsten Steiger)

The emphasis is also now on live music and that really fits the bill for me because it's my favorite thing. I love to play with the audience and have good interaction. When I watch my favorite bands I go to YouTube so that I can watch them play live. I still love the albums and want to have both, but when it comes to The Beatles, Al Green or Marvin Gaye I want to watch them play live, that's my thing. I never got to see The Who play live but I can watch their concerts from 1972. You know it's nice to just go back in time and visit with them and see how they gelled right there onstage.

CM: What is it that keeps you out there performing after all these years?

TG: It's the music for sure. I love playing rock guitar with a drummer, that's my favorite thing to do and then I love singing on top of that. Playing the saxophone and just being able to wail away on "Urgent" is about as much fun as you can have. This is what we all are looking for and it's what you work towards as a musician, so when the summers come around touring is just what we do.

(Photo provided by Tom Gimbel )

CM: What do you do to keep that musical spark lit for yourself?

TG: I'm always working on little projects. They recently did something with the wireless units and so we can't use the same frequencies that were once used for the microphone that is on the saxophone. That meant we had to get all new wireless stuff and that meant that we can no longer use the mic that I like, so we're shopping for microphones and I've had to try other ones. When it finally sounded good again I was so happy. I'm always looking for a magical reed for my tenor sax because it can make a drastic difference the way that the sound just jumps out of the saxophone big as a house.

There's always something to keep me inspired. I'll be looking at guitars online and then I find the same thing on eBay and think 'oh, I've gotta buy that quick before somebody else gets it". There should be a parental safety measure that stops you from being able to buy things after midnight. (laughing). I have storage space filled with things I thought I might need. It's okay though because it keeps me out of trouble.

CM: You're not a planner are you?

TG: I definitely go with the flow. I've never been a planner, I'm like one step at a time, no wait, two toes at a time (laughing). I'm really a linear person so I do things one step at a time in a sequence. It has worked for me and I like who I am now. I think we get more comfortable with ourselves as the years go by. When you're young you're always trying to prove something to somebody. Growing into your own skin is the best benefit of getting older.

CM: You've mentioned a few times how much things have changed over the years and with that change comes an onslaught of not so positive things, what is something that kind of eats away at you?

TG: I think it's a travesty that music programs are being taken away in the schools. Music was not only the best part of school for me but it probably kept me in school. Music was my motivator and I think a lot of kids might find themselves in that same situation, with music being the one thing that they like. It keeps kids out of trouble. We often bring choirs from local high schools on stage to sing with us. We tell people to talk to their board of education or school administrators to see if they can somehow help because these programs are being just stripped away. These kids haven't done anything wrong but they're being punished and losing something they need. It's really sad for the kids and we need to work together to save the music and other creative programs.

CM: You've got so many good things going on is there anything missing from your life at this point?

TG: Mostly these days I'm looking for my keys (laughing) because they're gone! Seriously, my keys, my phone, sunglasses that I can't find because they're still on my head (laughing).

CM: What would you like to say to the fans that have supported you for so long?

TG:  I want to thank the fans for coming out and rocking with us and we'll continue to do this for as long as they want us to. We're so grateful. The stuff that Mick Jones has written with Lou Gramm has just held up so well that it's really timeless. I get a huge charge out of playing music with other musicians, but when you add the audience in then the element of excitement is palpable. I think the audience is the secret ingredient that connects it all and really makes it work. People sing and dance, stomp and swear, whatever. It's all an outlet and that's what a rock concert is supposed to be, it's therapeutic. Where else do you get to yell and scream in public- it's like primal scream therapy only cheaper (laughing) and you go home feeling so much better!

(Foreigner Promo Shot)

Head over to Foreigner's official site to check out Juke Box Heroes Tour dates, band merch and more!



Daily Boom Lost Hit: Utopia- 'Love Is the Answer'

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Exclusive Interview: Bananarama's Keren Woodward Hopes Reunion Inspires Others to Chase Their Dreams



Since Covid-19 is preventing any new gigs DailyBOOM is flashing back to some of our favorites from previous years, plus some interviews that are oldies but goodies! Enjoy this flashback!

ICYMI...

Chances are when I say Bananarama, a particular bit of music instantly runs through your mind before a visual forms.. It might be from "Cruel Summer" or the heavy synth of "Venus", but you've got something already stuck in your head, don't you?  It's the mark of a legendary artist really when their work is so easily recalled. The ladies of Bananarama are exactly that- legendary. Iconic. If you could jump back in time to the early 80's you would find Sara Dallin, Keren Woodward, and Siobhan Fahey kicking down preconceived ideas of what a girl group "should" look like. They were trailblazers that helped to lead the way for other female artists, not because they were trying to, but because they were simply being true to themselves and their own unique creativity.

Their approach was probably one of the main keys to success. Sara, Keren, and Siobhan have always at root, just been three friends doing something that they believed in. That belief has translated into 4 U.S. top tens, 32 top forty UK hits, ten albums and over thirty million records sold. Did you catch that? Thirty MILLION records sold. It's no wonder that when Bananarama announced last spring that they would be reuniting for a real tour, the response was insanely positive.

Siobhan left the group in 1988 and had never actually experienced the live audience love of Bananarama's fan base, until recently. The Original Line Up Tour crisscrossed the UK late last year leaving the ladies vacillating between moments of healing tears and pure joy. The experience was so phenomenal that they are now bringing their tour stateside to the U.S. and Canada beginning in late February. Those quirky young girls have aged gracefully but don't let their obvious class completely fool you, there's still a bit of mischief and a whole lot of fun going on behind the scenes.

I was lucky enough to steal a few minutes of Keren's time earlier today and she was quite happy to reflect on Bananarama's past while being incredibly grateful for their current success.

Cate Meighan: Where are you now?

Keren Woodward: I'm at my home in Cornwall. I got back from London yesterday actually. I don't live there anymore, I prefer a quiet life in the country. I've got a little time off before the tour and we'll be starting rehearsals when we get to the states. It shouldn't be too difficult since we've just done 23 shows in the UK. We should hopefully still remember most of it (laughing).

CM: I've watched a lot of video clips from those shows and the emotion on stage between the three of seemed to range from teary-eyed to pure joy. Was it everything that you had hoped this reunion would be?

KW: It really was quite an experience and it really was quite emotional. We wanted to do something different and special. We phoned Siobhan up, thinking she just wouldn't want to do it because it was a huge amount of work for her, and then she surprised us. She hadn't been doing the songs in the same way that Sara and I have, so for her to take it on required a huge amount of rehearsals, and sort of just relearning stuff. It was very emotional from the first time that we were sitting together listening to the songs that we wanted to do on tour, we all got quite teary eyed. It has been an absolutely amazing experience, with such an overwhelming response. The emotion in the crowd and all of that emotion on stage was actually quite unexpected and incredible. It's the whole reason why we decided to bring the show to the states and to do a couple of other things as well. It's just been so fabulous. A really wonderful experience.


CM: Bananarama fans are really one of a kind. Not only do they love you ladies, but they also seem to have an instantaneous, genuine love for each other.

KW: Aren't they? It seems like a bit of a family. We've met so many of the fans and they have so many different stories of why Bananarama has meant so much to them. It's really, really heartwarming. When we were in our heyday back in the 80's we were going around doing TV and interviews, but maybe not getting to meet the fans as much. The loyalty and the stories that they tell us now are just really so wonderful. I did feel slightly bad that we had so many fans come from the U.S. to see us and then we announced that we were going there anyway. So now they get to see us twice and they don't seem to be too bothered by that, to be honest (laughing).

CM: It's beautiful to see the love and positive energy that they share with you.

KW:  It really is and it's quite surprising in some ways. We never could have expected it. Sara and I have done a lot of shows but it's really quite different when you're playing a festival as opposed to your own show. I know we've got enough songs that people know to keep us going but it's a different atmosphere when you're playing in a theater. Especially when everyone knows every word, of every song, start to finish, including album tracks and B sides. It's quite extraordinary.

Bananarama

CM: Let's be honest, you're not twenty-five anymore. How daunting is it to tour now?

KW; I've toured with Sara before and we have maybe done ten shows in a row. This one did seem pretty daunting when we first took off but I think the excitement kept us afloat. I mean we perform full out. I know my friends that came to see us said they were exhausted just watching. The reaction from the audience helped and I don't really remember feeling as though I couldn't keep going. Not at all. I was a bit tired in between shows I'm sure, but performing was never a problem. It's good to know I suppose (laughing). It's not like I'm really a gym bunny and I tend not to do much more than walking the dogs, so I must be fitter than I thought. It's a good thing (laughing).

CM: Have there been some kitchen discos along the way?

KW: (Laughing) To be honest, we had enough disco at our shows in the evening. No time for kitchen discos when we were on tour. They worked us so hard that when we had a day off all we wanted to do was relax (laughing). I did have plenty of discos over Christmas though, in my own kitchen with family, friends, and Sara. She and her daughter came and spent Christmas with me. We did have a sing-a-long in our dressing room before each show though. We would put music on and sing songs while getting ready just to help us get in the mood.

Bananarama

CM: So we know the UK tour was a smash. What should we expect from your U.S. dates?

KW: It's quite energetic and we're adding in our own memories. Plus there are visual memories on the screen behind us, which someone commented is really brave, to perform in front of a younger version of yourself (laughing). I suppose they're right. I know there were people (at our UK shows) that weren't massive fans but sort of came for the hell of it, just to have a laugh because they knew a few of the old songs. Well, they got there and realized that they actually knew most of the songs and had a ball. I'm hoping it'll be the same in the states. There are hits, surprises, and more. Some of the older tracks we've given a real party treatment to and it all sounds really great with the band. Our band is incredible and it just changes the dynamic. Keep in mind that much of the stuff that we did in the 80's didn't have live musicians. It was all done on computers at that time. Sara and I have performed with a band for so long that we can't bear to do it without one. I know people still go out without one and do a track show but I just can't, it wouldn't be right for me.


CM: Does Bananarama have any other solid plans in the near future once this tour wraps up?

This current tour is all about our celebrating our time as a trio. We have some big festivals that we'll be doing and after that, I don't really know. The whole point of doing it was to welcome back Siobhan and to do these songs with her. Every time that Sara and I saw her, either in London or at her home in LA, we would be dancing around and singing. It was hard to imagine that we had never done these shows with her and she absolutely embraced it, which is amazing. The beauty of Bananarama is that we've never really made monster plans. In the 80's everything was always so laid out and your calendar was full before you even started the year. Now we're doing what we want to do and going with what makes sense in the moment. Right now this show makes sense and we're having a ball.

CM: What would you like to say to those fans that have supported you through the decades?

KW: I've met so many of them! So many women along the way have told me that they considered me a role model growing up. I feel it's important to set an example at this age, to remind people that if they put their minds to something they can still do it and hey, you might surprise yourself! I think it can actually be quite difficult for women of our age to be seen or heard. You might feel written off because of other people's attitudes but ultimately that comes back to you. You're not too old to do things or change things that are making you unhappy. Hopefully, people can look at us and think- if they can do it then I can do it too. We girls need to stick together and buoy each other. That's how it should always be!

Check out a review of Bananarama's reunion in NYC in February of 2018 right here!

Follow Bananarama HERE for updates & also on:

Check out a medley of old & new Bananarama performances:




Bananarama's Reissued Greatest Hits:

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Rod Stewart- 'Passion'

Rod Stewart...don't ask....I've loved him since I was little. I think it's the hair and the raspy voice.

Tonight in the city
You won't find any pity
Hearts are being twisted
Another lover cheated, cheated
In the bars and the cafes, passion
In the streets and the alleys, passion
A lot of pretending, passion
Everybody searching, passion

I've already told you guys that music played a huge part in everyday life for me as a kid in the 80's. My dad had the most enviable record collection but of course there was conflict along the way. My mom didn't exactly love his hobby and she blatantly disapproved of a lot of the artists that he brought in the front door. He got away with a lot but it was fairly well known that dad was expected to keep a close eye on what 45's I wanted. The only problem there was that, because music is such a subjective thing he just wasn't inclined to tell me no. 

Dad suffered through several spinning's of "Disco Duck" before being happy to watch me move on to ABBA. Dad might have been a classic rock kind of guy but he had no problem encouraging my love of disco, at least until I discovered Pat Benetar and then my taste was all over the place.

I still can remember this one Saturday afternoon when he and I drove to a record store in a strip mall next to a Kmart (back when the blue light special was alive and well). There were several record stores that we would frequent and if you told me that they wouldn't exist a few decades later I would never have believed it. Anyway, the Saturday afternoon deal was always that I could get a 45 or 2 if it was a really good week. I looked and looked, knowing exactly what I wanted, Rod Stewart's "Passion". It was probably 1980 and not exactly appropriate for a 9-year-old. Dad actually said no, probably because he envisioned my mom's reaction if he bought it fr me.

The next weekend I had a plan. I had 179 pennies in a sandwich bag because if it was my money he probably wouldn't stop me. I walked up to the counter with "Passion" in one hand and the pennies in the other. The shop owner made me count them out and then he scooped them up and dumped them into his register drawer. I think my dad secretly liked how nervy I was, but warned me that my mom would be pissed & he would likely get blasted too.

I don't remember her words exactly but I do remember him defending me and saying I probably just loved the music (true story) and he wasn't going to stop me if I had the nerve to bust my piggy bank for it. Needless to say, "Passion" got thrown in the garbage but about a week later my dad bought it and magically gave it to me after he was done with it. For years afterwards my dad would buy 45's, put them on tape & I'd inherit the vinyl. 

It's 35 years later and yes, not only do I have that 45 but I also have the album that is was on. "Passion" is played fairly often in my house, to this day.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Currently Booming: Toto- Quarantine Version of 'Africa'

Foreigner- Double Vision: Then & Now Reunion Show Review (Atlantic City)


Double Vision Then & Now- Foreigner Reunion
(All Photos- Cate Meighan)

Since Covid-19 is preventing any new gigs DailyBOOM is flashing back to some of our favorites from previous years. Enjoy this flashback!

When Mick Jones, Ian McDonald, and Lou Gramm first teamed up in New York City back in 1976 to form Foreigner, I'm pretty sure that they never would have imagined still sharing a stage some 40+ years later. Serious health issues, growing pains, lineup changes, and internal strife have all played a part in the bands' evolution and temporary disintegration, but the music has always been much more powerful than all of those things combined. Foreigner's catalog is an overabundance of riches for any musician fortunate enough to be able to do it any sort of justice and no one understands this better than the band's original lineup. Seeing Mick Jones (lead guitar), Lou Gramm (vocals), Ian McDonald (guitar/sax), Dennis Elliott (drums), Rick Wills (bass) and Al Greenwood (keyboard) reunite for a select few shows this year has been a rare gift for classic rock fans young and old alike.

The Hard Rock in Atlantic City was one of only four shows slated for this year's Double Vision: Then & Now reunion and it really was a perfect balance of the original Foreigner members, with the current lineup. The first part of the show featured the latter with Kelly Hansen absolutely showing off his vocal range on hits like "Cold As Ice" and "Head Games" before pulling the sold-out crowd in with his intensity on "Waiting for a Girl Like You" and "That Was Yesterday". 

Kelly Hansen

Kelly Hansen

While Hansen is more than holding his own on vocals, the rest of the current lineup is an incredibly skilled group of musicians, all with decades of success before even venturing to set foot on a Foreigner stage. Bruce Watson was tapped to step in for Mick Jones during a medical emergency years ago and never left. He has earned his spot by being versatile enough to either play lead guitar his way or to accentuate the magic that Jones weaves as his right-hand man. 







Bruce Watson & Tom Gimbel

Bruce Watson & Jeff Pilson

Jeff Pilson (interview herespent years 'breaking the chains' with Dokken before joining Foreigner and he is an animal onstage. One minute he is literally headbanging right in front of you and the next he is already at the opposite end of the stage rocking out. His bass playing is a standout, even on the ballads and he often can be found working as the band's music director to make sure that their shows are seamless. 


Jeff Pilson

Jeff Pilson

Tom Gimbel (interview here or here)  is one of, if not the most versatile musician currently touring. In any given song he might be playing rhythm guitar ("Head Games", "Juke Box Hero"), keyboard ("Cold As Ice", "Waiting For A Girl Like You"), or flute ("Starrider"). But his biggest moment is when he cracks out his saxophone to make "Urgent" the memorable piece that it is. 

Tom Gimbel

Tom Gimbel

Speaking of keyboards, Michael Bluestein is quite an entertainer. He plays great and even from the back of the stage he always catches my eye with the way he pumps up and toys with the audience. It's so often mentioned that the drums are the foundation of any band and that certainly holds true for Foreigner. Chris Frazier has been the man behind the kit for the last seven years and he is the driving force that pushes this great band through songs like "Juke Box Hero". 

Mick Jones

Once the current lineup finished their set in Atlantic City, Mick took to the stage to introduce the rest of the original members and you could tell that this was an audience raised on Foreigner. I was one of those kids back in the 70's spinning my dad's vinyl, so to see and hear the guys who actually played on those original recordings was pretty amazing. Less than a minute into "Feels Like the First Time" and it was obvious that this stage full of 70ish-year-old men could still rock. 

Mick Jones

As long as Mick is breathing he will play like a guitar god and seeing him interact with Lou onstage felt like rare stolen moments that only a select few concert goers in this day and age will get to experience. Lou's vocals seem to be about the best that they've been in years and the Hard Rock audience's energy soared. 

Lou Gramm & Rick Wills

I got the feeling while watching Rick Wills on bass and Dennis Elliott on drums that they both could still be playing regularly with Foreigner if they chose to. They both helped the band barrel through "Blue Morning Blue Day" and "Long Long Way From Home" with such conviction that I really wanted to see what else they can still do. 

Rick Wills

Rick Wills & Ian McDonald

Multi-instrumentalists always intrigue me because they just have so much going on.  Ian McDonald is meticulous in getting himself together before playing and it made me so happy to see him have a bit of a sax solo complete with a bit of his own theatrical flair. 

Ian McDonald

The split setlist for the Double Vision: Then & Now shows is actually pretty perfect because it allows each generation to play to their strongest abilities. There was no better way to wrap up such a rare evening than by bringing all twelve musicians back onstage to perform "I Want To Know What Love Is" and "Hot Blooded". 

Foreigner already has a pile of dates booked for 2019 and rumor has it that some of those may turn into reunion shows as well. This fan can only hope that it's a rumor that turns into confirmed fact!

Double Vision: Then & Now Setlist

Current Lineup:
Cold As Ice
Head Games
Waiting For A Girl Like You
That Was Yesterday
Headknocker
Urgent
Juke Box Hero

Original Lineup:
Feels Like the First Time
Double Vision
Blue Morning Blue Day
Long Long Way From Home
Dirty White Boy

Both Lineups:
I Want To Know What Love Is
Hot Blooded

Lou Gramm

Ian McDonald

Jeff Pilson

Tom Gimbel & Bruce Watson

Bruce Watson & Tom Gimbel

Jeff Pilson

Tom Gimbel & Kelly Hansen

Bruce Watson & Tom Gimbel

Jeff Pilson

Bruce Watson, Tom Gimbel & Kelly Hansen