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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Aerosmith with Cheap Trick live at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA

Aerosmith with Cheap Trick live at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA
Thursday 5th July, 2012

So there I was, heading to ‘The Post’ – A local bar and grill now known as The Venue. – for a farewell gathering with some co-workers, as I was quitting my job on the Friday, to start my new one on the Monday, when I realized who was across the road that night, playing at the Palace of Auburn Hills?
No less than Aerosmith with special guests, Cheap Trick opening.

I thought, this place is going to be packed with concert goers, etc … It would be a madhouse in there, but we won’t be there long … Next thing I know, courtesy of local radio station Detroit’s own WRIF, broadcasting from inside the bar / grill, with DJ Meltdown, I find myself with two tickets for the evening’s show, through a WRIF giveaway, sweet!

So, I’m on the phone to Rhonda saying, ‘Honey, you have to try and find someone to watch our two great kids tonight.’ She’s like, ‘Why? The temperature outside is like 100°F and I’m fine in the A/C at home …’
I tell her, ‘I’ve just snagged two tickets to tonight’s Aerosmith show at the Palace!’

Aerosmith of course have multi-platinum album awards for countless albums, ‘Toys in the Attic’ is eight times platinum in the US, ‘Pump’ and ‘Get A Grip’ are both seven time platinum albums, just to name three releases, the rest are equally as impressive.

What many people probably don’t know is that Cheap Trick holds four US platinum album awards, three Canadian platinum awards, plus two gold album awards in each of the same countries too!
Not too shabby credentials at all are they?!

Cheap Trick live at The Palace Of Auburn Hills, Detroit, Michigan

So Cheap Trick opens the night with ‘Clock Strikes Ten’ and I wonder with where our seats are located – Nosebleed section … i.e. Very high up, check out the pictures, with max zoom deployed on my phone … No regular camera, as I didn’t know we were going! – Yes, I just wondered how it would be for the evening …
Well, the seats we had were up high and as you look at the stage, to the right basically.
A huge flaw about the venue itself, is although it’s the home of the Detroit Piston’s basketball team, it also plays host throughout the year, to many live shows and put simply, unless you are on the main floor, with the PA and stage sound equipment pointing at you, up and to the sides, it’s never great. Add to that, the venue does not have any acoustic ceiling sound tiles, it’s not great.

Cheap Trick as we looked down on them, certainly looked their usual cheeky selves, with Robin Zander wearing a fake military like outfit, including the cap of say a captain, etc. They were moving around quite a bit and although it’s all the original band, bar Bun E. Carlos, whose replacement is Rick Neilson’s son, Daxx. Robin Zander and Tom Peterson complete the current lineup.

'ELO Kiddies' was next up and the sound is really big and booming where we are, shame, as I’ve yet to catch a Cheap Trick live show, with good sound. :(

The band’s cover of The Move’s 'California Man' is next and it’s well done, and the band continue with another popular number of theirs, another cover in 'Ain’t That A Shame.'

'Sick Man of Europe' is next, from their last studio album, 'The Latest,' before 'Baby Loves To Rock.'

Cheap Trick live at The Palace of Auburn Hills

I really wish I could’ve been reviewing this from better seats, as I do enjoy the band, but trying to give anyone, any kind of reasonable review from way up in the heavens of the venue, is asking a lot!

Next is 'Need Your Love,' followed by 'I Know What I Want' and it’s getting close to them wrapping up their set and 'Surrender' follows next.
A great song, sadly once more without a great sound.

Rick then finally steps up to the microphone to speak to the crowd, introducing the band and then saying how much Detroit has always been great them and how much music history in the city and thanks to Jim McCarty, MC5, The Romantics, Eminem, etc.

Robin Zander then steps up to the mic, as they kick off 'The Flame' next. It’s such a fantastic tune. Vocally it sounds a little improved, but there’s not a lot in it to be honest.

'I Want You To Want Me' has the crowd up and singing, before 'Dream Police' hits us next. Great stuff!
Rick grabs his five neck guitar and they jam 'Goodnight Ladies and Gentlemen' and they’re done.

Aerosmith are currently out on their North American ‘Global Warming Tour’ and of course, Steven Tyler is taking a break away from his latest stardom trip, as a judge on TV’s American Idol.

So the band are back together and how long will it last with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, following previously much publicized bust ups, including much talk last year of the band getting a replacement for Tyler onboard.

Well, obviously that didn’t happen and Messer’s Tyler and Perry are joined by the old gang that IS Aerosmith and the best known and loved version featuring Joey Kramer (Drums), Brad Whitford on guitars and Tom Hamilton on bass.

They have the huge stage setup, as I saw with them last time around, big lighting trusses, big HD video screens and walkways all over and Joey Kramer’s drum kit on a sliding base that moves out forward for his drum solo.

Aerosmith stage setup at The Palace of Auburn Hills

As the lights go down, Tyler and Perry appear amid the dry ice at the end of the long walkway / runway, that reaches about midway into the main floor, with the ‘other guys’ back on the main stage area.

They open with ‘Draw The Line,’ before then kicking into ‘Love In An Elevator’ which tends to hit home more with the crowd, which is generally a younger mixed audience. There are many screaming girls though, without a doubt!

Steven Tyler, I simply can’t express this enough, the guy is the ultimate showman. It really does not matter how old this guy is, he is all about trying to acknowledge as many sections of the audience as he possibly can and he does so, so well.
He on stage posing, no one can match surely?!
He’s has just got …, IT!

‘Oh Yeah’ is next with some jamming from the band set back keyboard player, alongside the female backing vocalists, who we can hear throughout, who along with the keys man and percussion guy, get no introduction …

‘Living On The Edge’ next is a gem, as is ‘Jaded’ that follows great stuff, but one thing, really does seem very apparent with each song … The guitar solos just seem to become longer these days, more jamming, to the point at times, where lesser known songs can really start to get more than a little drawn out. My statement is based on where many of the fans would get up on their feet for many songs, but after these solos between Whitford and Perry go back and forth so much, the folks start sitting down again.

Aerosmith live on stage - The Palace of Auburn Hills

'S.O.S. (Too Bad)' is followed by ‘Last Child’ and it seems to be an area of the bands material where many seem to struggle to acknowledge the tracks and ‘be into it’ once again, especially when the band gets into dragging the solos out, especially at this time where Whitford really gets into a blues like jam and it seems that Joey Kramer was looking like, alright, come on guys, let’s move on!

Ironically, it’s Joey’s drum solo next, introduced by Steven Tyler complete with strobe lighting, then towards the end of Joey’s solo, Tyler grabs some sticks and stands alongside Joey, jamming some on the drums too.

Joey Kramer (Aerosmith) drum solo, live in Detroit

‘Lord of the Thighs’ is next and certainly the crowd is up on their feet again and into this, as Betty Boop is played on the backing video screen and yes, they really seem to drag this one out ... A three minute something song, gets dragged out for something like seven or eight minutes or more. I should’ve been timing these, to prove the point!

‘Boogie Man’ from ‘Get A Grip’ is next before some lead in blues and Joe Perry taking the lead vocal for ‘Combination’ before ‘What it Takes’ kicks in and they drag the tune out more, with further extended soloing.
Joe then Brad, then Brad, then Joe, then back and forth some more …

‘No More, No More’ gets the crowd excited some more before Steven says, ‘Let’s play some new music,’ cue ‘Legendary Child,’ from the band’s forthcoming new album, ‘Music From Another Dimension.’
Personally, I’m not taken by the new track, even if in places it kind of reminds me of ‘Shut Up and Dance.’

Steven Tyler on stage with Aerosmith in Detroit, MI. July 2012

Next it’s ‘Falling In Love (Is Hard On The Knees)’ and again, clearly a popular number, then it’s back to the classics of old, with ‘Chip Away The Stone,’ ‘Sweet Emotion’ and ‘Mother Popcorn’ too.

‘Walk This Way’ closes the main set, before the band comes back to encore with ‘Dream On’ – Of course! – and ‘Train Kept A Rollin.’’

I cannot have any reason to complain, since I got lucky in picking up tickets in a giveaway, but to others here tonight, that paid good money, I wonder what their take was on the show.
The band probably will not be able to keep things going for too many more tours at their age, perhaps a sign is that the current tour was only around twenty or thirty dates long, across North America, indicates they are not doing massive tours anymore.

As I have commented throughout, many of the songs seem to be becoming longer jams and when you think of many of the songs that they could’ve played and didn’t - due to lengthening of others - that were huge hits, you do begin to wonder how fans will take the current tour and if they’ll even consider coming back to see them again, especially at the high prices charged by the band for their show.

I’ll personally be looking to check out Cheap Trick another time, in hopefully a better setting, but I might just give future Aerosmith gigs a miss.

Overall rating of gig: 3.25 out of 5

Perhaps in a different position, sound could've been better, in which case I'd up it to:
4 out of 5

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Slight Update for Thursday July 5th, 2012

Hi All,
I hope you all enjoyed the Howard Leese interview, I have another soon to be finished thanks to a very close friend, whose also been helping me out.
Anyway, hope my American readers had a great 4th July, we had fun here ...
Sorry this is brief, I'm finishing up the dayjob in place and getting buried in stuff before I leave, then I start at a new place on Monday, so even more limited time here with all that on top of the usual.
Enjoy the rest of the week folks, weekend is almost here!
Cheers, Al

MAGNUM New Album Details Revealed

Hugely influential British melodic hard rock group MAGNUM have confirmed the release of their upcoming eighteenth studio album. The album 'On The 13th Day' will be released by Steamhammer/SPV on September 19th in Scandinavia, September 21st in Germany, September 24th in Europe and September 25th in the US/Canada. "So Let It Rain", a new track taken from the album, will be released as a single at the end of August.

'On The 13th Day' will be available as a limited digipak edition with a bonus CD featuring unreleased, acoustic and live tracks from the MAGNUM vaults, standard jewel case CD and download.
The artwork was once again created by famous fantasy artist Rodney Matthews. (Asia, Nazareth, Eloy).


Limited Digipak Edition:

Disc 1
1. All The Dreamers
2. Blood Red Laughter
3. Didn't Like You Anyway
4. On The 13th Day
5. So Let It Rain
6. Dance Of The Black Tattoo
7. Shadow Town
8. Putting Things In Place
9. Broken Promises
10. See How They Fall
11. From Within

Bonus Disc 2
1. Those Were The Days (Demo From 1988-89)
2. Eyes Like Fire (Full Version)
3. Blood Red Laughter (Acoustic Version)
4. We All Need To Be Loved (Live From Prague CZ)
5. Shadow Town (Acoustic Version)
6. Moonking (Live From Mannheim D)

Jewel Case Edition:

1. All The Dreamers
2. Blood Red Laughter
3. Didn't Like You Anyway
4. On The 13th Day
5. So Let It Rain
6. Dance Of The Black Tattoo
7. Shadow Town
8. Putting Things In Place
9. Broken Promises
10. See How They Fall
11. From Within

'On The 13th Day' follows the success of 'The Visitation,' which charted at #19 in Germany, #46 in Sweden, #55 in the UK national album charts, #56 in Switzerland, and at #3 in the UK rock charts at the end of January 2011. 

'On The 13th Day' also picks up where 'The Visitation' left off, boasting 11 soaring, brand new totally epic rock songs packed with hook filled choruses, glorious flowing melodies, luscious keyboards and flowing guitar licks. Right from the opening track "All The Dreamers", (set to be the new "Sacred Hour") you get an instant feeling that this album has something very special to offer. "So Let It Rain", the first single to be taken from 'On The 13th Day,' will without a doubt soon be officially classified as 'classic', while "Dance Of The Black Tattoo", which, from the moment the first drum beats crash out of the speakers, mesmerizes from start to finish. 'On The 13th Day,' which draws on the very best elements of MAGNUM's illustrious back catalogue and high end production, is a strong contender for the title of MAGNUM's best album to date.'

One month after the release of 'On The 13th Day,' MAGNUM will set off on a 31 date European tour from October-December 2012.

Dates are:

MAGNUM live 2012

25.10. D-Berlin C-Club
26.10. D-Hamburg - Fabrik
27.10. D-Aschaffenburg - Colos-Saal
28.10. D-Cologne - Kantine
30.10. D-Ingolstadt - Eventhalle am Westpark
31.10. D-Mannheim - Alte Seilerei
01.11. D-Bochum - Matrix (new)
03.11. D-Bremen - Schuppen 2
05.11. D-Nürnberg - Hirsch
06.11. D-Augsburg - Spectrum
07.11. D-Munich - Ampere
09.11. D-Burglengenfeld - VAZ
10.11. D-Memmingen - Kaminwerk
12.11. CZ-Pilsen - KD Serikova
13.11. CZ-Zlin - Masters Of Rock Café
15.11. NL-Kerkrade - The Rock Temple (new)
16.11. B-Vosselaar - Biebob (new)
17.11. F-Vaureal - Le Forum (new)
18.11. GB-Bristol - 02 Academy
20.11. GB-Liverpool - 02 Academy
21.11. GB-Glasgow - Garage
22.11. GB-Newcastle - 02 Academy
23.11. GB-Holmfirth - Picturedome
24.11. GB-Manchester - Ritz
25.11. GB-Nottingham - Rock City
27.11. GB-Leamington - Leamington Assembly
28.11. GB-Southampton - The Brook
29.11. GB-London - 02 Academy Islington
30.11. GB-Pontypridd - Muni Arts Centre
01.12. GB-Wolverhampton - Wulfrun Hall
02.12. GB-Norwich - Waterfront


Line Up:
Tony Clarkin - guitars
Bob Catley - vocals
Mark Stanway - keyboards
Al Barrow - bass
Harry James - drums

Rudy Sarzo calls it quits with Blue Oyster Cult
Here's the thing with this folks, many people will remember Rudy Sarzo for his abilities with Whitesnake, Dio, Ozzy, etc and yeah, I know people know who Blue Oyster Cult (B.O.C.) are, but how many people were aware that they are still going ... or even kind of cared?

The band are probably best known for songs like '(Don't Fear ) The Reaper,' 'Burning For You' and 'Godzilla,' and yes, the first two songs most classic rock fans will know and a few more will know of 'Godzilla.'
I've seen these guys twice and both times, they really didn't impress me, but I did want to hear those songs ... Kind of like when I caught Steppenwolf, really wanted to hear 'Born To Be Wild,' but after a while, the other material seemed so far away from that, that both Rhonda and I decided to leave ..., before they'd even played it!
Anyway, I'm getting off track here ...

So, B.O.C. have still been touring with Rudy Sarzo, I'm also aware that Bobby Rondinelli (Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Quiet Riot) had been with the band too for some time and he quit not that long ago as well.
It seems that these days B.O.C. seems to revolve around the two remaining long standing members Eric Bloom and Buck Dharma, but the last studio album they released was over ten years ago ... Really?! It's kind of like what are they doing?

OK, B.O.C. whine over ...
The Rudy Sarzo part comes, as I totally respect the bassist, great player indeed and his recent limelight on US T.V., with the annual 'Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp,' that is broadcast here in the US, on VH1 Classic, he's taken part in, brings even more attention his way.
So, when I heard he was quitting B.O.C., I wondered so where's he going now?
He has told Ultimate Classic Rock - - that he's formed a new band with former Anthrax vocalist Dan Nelson, as well as Twisted Sister drummer AJ Pero and Adrenaline Mob guitarist Mike Orlando.
The band's name is Tred ... Yeah, doesn't exactly roll off the tongue does it?!
I don't know folks, I would've thought Rudy could've done something a little bigger these days, ah well ...
Maybe it simply allows him a little creative freedom, who knows?

Keep up with Rudy right here: or

Blue Oyster Cult:

News brief ...

Van Halen are looking at heading down under, to Australia, 'if' they can get confirmation with some promoters, after pulling out of a festival tour previously, that dates can be booked.
Target is for October timeframe, with Japan scheduled for November, according to

Talk is also doing the rounds about the band playing at the next Superbowl, again more details over at

Eagle Rock releases Staind - Live From Mohegan Sun on DVD July 10th, with Blu-ray in stores August 14th.

Recorded at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut on November 25, 2011, this concert captures a typically raw and energetic performance by Staind on the tour in support of their eponymous album released in September last year, their first tour to feature new drummer Sal Giancarelli.
The show features tracks from the new album mixed in with classic songs from across their career including many of their hit singles.

For more details on this and other Eagle Rock releases, go to:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Interview with Howard Leese 2012

Interview with Howard Leese

February 2012

Well, finally you folks are going to get to check out the interviews I've been constantly telling you were on the way, over the last few months.

As I've said before, I do consider myself very fortunate to be in a position to get to speak to some of the worlds finest musicians. Of course there is a downside to it all and that is through my only being able to run this site part time, I simply cannot get everything uploaded, to share with you all, as soon as I'd like to. 
Anyway, enough of all that ...

Back in February, thanks to my good friend Stuart Smith (Heaven and Earth), I was able to carry out a few interviews with some yes, great musicians and this first one was a great chat I had with Howard Leese. The former Heart guitarist for twenty plus years, then a main part of Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company) band, before then becoming a member of Bad Company.
He has also in recent years, put out an excellent solo album in 'Secret Weapon' and has another one in the works, oh and he has also been doing something else too ... Yes, working with a certain Mr. Stuart Smith on his latest Heaven and Earth recordings, still ongoing.
So, to the interview ... Enjoy, I did!  

Howard Leese onstage with Bad Company

* * * * *

Howard: Hello?
AW: Hello Howard?

Howard: Yep.

AW: Thank you for taking my call.

Howard: Oh not a problem, how are you doing?

AW: Not too bad at all, yourself?

Howard: Where are you?

AW: I’m in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

Howard: Michigan!

AW: The cold north! (Laughs)

Howard: (Laughs) Yeah.

AW: It’s pretty chilly right now, we’ve got snow scattered around and the snow’s eased off and they are talking about rain tonight, but it’s freezing right now. Skidpan tomorrow morning no doubt! Always a challenge!

Howard: Yes, Michigan winters are pretty fierce.

AW: Yes, they certainly are … So, how’s the N.A.M.M. show been for you so far then?

Howard: Oh it was pretty good. We had a big press conference on Friday, all the artists … It’s always impressive to see all the artists, the guys that play the guitars and all get together. It’s a really good hang … Some unbelievably talented players, so it was a pretty strong bunch of people.

AW: Right, so which sponsors have you been helping out this year, was it Paul Reed Smith or …

Howard: Yes, that’s all I do, PRS …

AW: So you’re not plugging your own guitars?

Howard: No, my guitars don’t need any advertising, it’s such a tiny little thing, we’re finishing number 20 right now, and I’ve been making them since what ’98 or so, so a little over one a year, it’s not something I do in crew, it’s not something I do for a business to make a bunch of money I do it because I love it.

AW: Excellent, excellent, well that’s good. Well, for all of those who aren’t familiar with how it all started for you, although you were a player; before it all started for you with Heart, you first recorded I understand at 15 right?
Howard: Right.

AW: But your first recordings were with Heart, by producing and playing on the demo, right?

Howard: That is correct, although I didn’t play on the demo, I just produced it. That was a funny thing, they came in that day and my partner, Mike Flicker who normally was the producer, who actually went on to produce the first five albums by Heart was out that day, so I just went in and produced the first Heart recordings ever, so kind of a funny little aside.

AW: Yeah, indeed.

Howard: Yeah, interesting note, trivia question or something.

AW: (Laughing) Yeah, it’s nice to have on the resume though right?

Howard: Sure.

AW: But good memories of that then right?

Howard: Oh yeah, those were fun times in Vancouver. They were sort of situations where we were doing stuff, because we didn’t know we couldn’t …

AW: Right …

Howard: You know and people would call ahead and would say, ‘We have a studio, we just acquired it really as a real estate property, we didn’t know what to do with it, so why don’t you guys come out here and make us millions of dollars making hit records. (Laughs) It was like, ‘Oh, that’s a good idea, we’ll be right there.

AW: (Laughing) Yeah, no kidding right?!

Howard: Right, so that’s exactly what we did, so it’s such a funny thing, but you know, we didn’t know until hindsight, how it … What the odds really were, something like that really happening. I mean, I don’t know how possible that would seem to be these days, but yeah, we did it because we didn’t know we couldn’t!

AW: Right, no that’s great and of course from then on, it really started the ball rolling and you ended up recording twelve albums with the band right?

Howard: That’s right.

AW: In just over twenty years, which is a huge chunk of anyone’s life, but I know having played in bands myself, that in band years, it’s probably feels like dog years right?

Howard: (Laughing) Band years, I like that, that’s a great concept isn’t it?!

AW: (Laughs) Yeah.

Howard: “I was with them for 20 years, which in ‘band years’ was like …” (Laughs)

AW: Yeah exactly! 20 years was probably more like 120 years, right?!

Howard: Man, that’s really funny …

AW: Yeah, but it can’t all have smooth I’m sure and I know that during the time that you were with the band of course, you went on, you helped out with writing and playing with other artists as well right?

Howard: A little bit, I played on a record by Randy Meister who was in The Eagles and that was actually where I met Denny Carmassi, that was actually another Mike Flicker production and his idea for that record was everything would be live, even the guitar solos. Everything would go down live, only the vocal would be overdubbed, so the tracks would be finished when we cut the basic tracks. We had Nicky Hopkins on it, a famous British piano player, so it was a lot of fun when we did that record and I also did a recording with Lita Ford. I played on a single of hers that actually got nominated for a Grammy.

AW: Right, right …

Howard: We’re still friends. We played together last month actually as part of the Rock and Roll Fantasy camp. Played the Playboy Mansion together actually …

AW: Yeah, there you go! Yeah, I heard that was a lot of fun …

Howard: Yeah, I’m doing it again in May with Steven Tyler

AW: Right, well that’ll be cool and … Well, I guess they were all fun excursions right?

Howard: Yeah, it’s always good to step outside your comfort zone and try something else … I was sort of used to it, as I grew up being a studio guy where every day you’re working on being on a different project, doing different kinds of things, playing different roles so … That’s fun for me!

AW: Sure. So after all that and all those albums with Heart and all those years with Heart, you moved onto Paul Rodgers right?

Howard: Right.

AW: Was that because Paul Rodgers was too good an opportunity to turn down or simply felt you’d had enough of Heart because of all the on / off scenarios within the band that had been happening?

Howard: Well, it sort of seemed like we were in semi-retirement mode and Nancy (Wilson) had stopped working with the band live, she was trying to settle down and have a family. So when she stopped working with us, so Ann (Wilson) and I went out, Ann started her own solo band, the Ann Wilson Band and I did that for two summers, which was a lot of fun but unfortunately we never recorded that and we really should’ve. She should’ve done a solo album with that band right then, because it was a sort of big R’n’B infected thing, we had horns … It was sort of like an Al Green, Aretha Franklin kind of deal, it was funkier than Heart. I thought that was pretty cool and we did that for two summers and before the second summer, I auditioned for the Paul Rodgers thing, as I figured that Heart was done, so he asked me to join the band and then the very next day Ann calls me up and says, ’Oh I’ve got seven weeks of gigs, so you’ve gotta go with me.’ I go, ‘OK,’ so I have to call Paul Rodgers and say, ‘Thanks for giving me the gig, but I actually can’t take it, I owe it to Ann Wilson and we’re good friends …’

AW: Right, right …

Howard: ‘ … She needs me, so I’m going to do that.’ So a friend of mine substituted for me and there’s a funny story. Ann and I finished our last show on a Saturday night and flew home on a Sunday and I wasn’t going to fly home and take my friends gig, as he needed to gig much more than I did, so I was thinking, ‘Well, that’s it, I’m done. I’m retired, I can take it easy and relax and enjoy a little quiet time and no more travelling … So all day Monday I was retired (Laughs) and then Tuesday I got the call from Paul that my buddy was leaving the band and could I be at Pine Knob in Detroit on Friday night … (Both laughing) Here’s the set list, no rehearsal, no nothing … See you onstage kind of a deal … So yeah, I had a day off between my two jobs. I was with Heart for twenty two years and I’ve been with Paul for fourteen years now … So just one day off in between, catch my breath …

AW: Yeah, right (Laughing). So which year was that, do you remember …?

Howard: It was ’98 and had it been anyone else that had called me, I’d have said, ‘You know, I just got done, I really don’t want to travel much anymore, I think I’m done, thanks for the offer …,’ but it was Paul Rodgers, he was my favourite singer and Free was my favourite band and you get an opportunity to stand next to someone like that …, I just couldn’t say no.

AW: Right …

Howard: ... And I’m still doing it!

AW: Yeah right, absolutely and the reason I asked was because I moved over to the States in 2000 and … Well, I saw Paul a few times in the UK touring solo before I came over and always enjoyed the gigs and I thought a lot of his solo material was great, I really did and when I came over, the first year here, I saw a bunch of shows at the tail end of 2000 and so obviously it was just before that so … I do remember seeing you after that, playing with Paul so it was great to see you there, it really was.

Howard: We played England a lot, because we do Bad Company as well.

AW: Exactly.

Howard: We were over there a year or so ago and we played at Wembley, Paul and I have done the Albert Hall a couple of times … I love playing in England because the fans really know their stuff over there, you know all the greatest bands were British, in my opinion and so they get to see the best bands, so they’re the most knowledgeable fans, they know the difference … (I laugh at this point), so if you can really make them feel it, that’s the most challenging audience, ‘cos they really know their stuff. They’re seen the best …

AW: Well, you know I’m kind of a little bit biased because the coin kind of swings both ways for me and I like a lot of British bands that maybe didn’t make it here in the States or not so much and I like a lot of US bands and the ironic thing for me was, I didn’t get to see a lot of favourite US bands, until I actually moved over here, because of the constant summer tours that come through …

Howard: Right, yeah.

AW: … And Pine Knob is perfect you know?

Howard: Yeah, I’ve played there, many, many, many times. I love Pine Knob. (Laughs)

AW: (Laughing) Yeah, it’s great! I mean I love the place and there’s so many venues around Detroit and it’s funny actually because I interviewed Joel Hoekstra, the Night Ranger guy, who’s also done the ‘Rock of Ages’ shows and a lot of other stuff and I was just saying to him, you know it’s funny, when I go to London in England, I mean that’s kind of like being in Detroit, for the amount of venues you’ve got and so on and so forth. Having lived in Portsmouth myself, it’s different and playing on the band scene as well, it’s very, very different.

Howard: Well any night of the week in London, there’s gotta be like 20 gigs going on, so …

AW: Exactly!

Howard: Yeah, I mean there’s the Roundhouse there’s a million places to play in London and that’s the fun thing about it. Rock ‘n’ roll is a real thriving deal there, I just love it there.

AW: Yeah. That’s so true, it is, but as I say, I saw some of the (US) bands over in the UK that did come over, but typically, a UK tour wasn’t such a thing for US bands back in the 80’s so much, because I guess so much was happening for them over here, so we’d get the odd date and that would be it, you know?

Howard: Yeah, plus it’s expensive to pack everything up and fly it all the way over there to play and if you’re not going to make a certain amount of money, it’s like financially impossible. It’s so far and to bring all your gear and stuff …, but Paul’s an icon in England so it’s always fun for him and fun for me to see it, to go back there and see the people that have been with him (Fans), since Free …
AW: Right and kind of what you’re saying, if you can win over the crowd in England, I mean that’s it, you’ve got it and … They are, it’s a different crowd, I mean I must say when I see a DVD … It’s funny because I look back and watch old videos and DVD’s and clips of gig over in the UK say versus gigs over here in the States and it’s like pretty much, the crowd is like right with you from the get go …

Howard: Right …

AW: … And it’s like you can be a brand name band if you will, with say a band that’s been out there for years and years and years and every year a band will come back to the UK and tour and it’s like the first song or two, the audience is like just warming up to it …!

Howard: Yeah, you have to win them over … Well I faced that myself personally, because I’m with Paul, famous British guy and the last tour we had Jason Bonham on the drums, another legendary British guy and then there’s me, this American guitar player and you just that some of the British people are just going, ‘What’s he doing there?!’
(Both laugh) ‘He’s a Yank, what’s he doing there?!’ ‘One of the most British artists of all time, what’s this American guy doing here?’ So I have to prove it every time I go there, but you know, that’s my style, I play British Classic Rock, that’s what I do! Even though I’m American, that’s my style and so … And I do, I always win them over but I feel that every time we go there.

AW: The pressure’s on right?!

Howard: A little bit, you know …, Paul Kossoff (RIP) … Come on?!

AW: I know, I know …

Howard: I’m standing in his spot! There’s pressure there, definitely!

AW: You know and it’s funny you mention that because last year I reviewed the ‘Free Forever’ DVD set and it’s phenomenal, that was great to watch, it was really great!

Howard: Oh yeah it was, wasn’t it?!

AW: Yeah it was, actually it may have been from the year before now I think about it! I did get a copy of the 'Bad Company at Wembley' gig that you did and that’s an enjoyable DVD!

Howard: Yeah, I thought that Wembley show was good it was a lot of fun. Jimmy Page was standing on the stage with us …, so … (I laugh) Not only are you shooting 19 camera Hi-Def, recording the whole thing and it’s Wembley … By the way, there’s Pagey … (Nervous laugh from Howard), so don’t be nervous, just be yourself!

AW: No pressure mate! (Both laughing)

Howard: No pressure! (Laughs)

AW: That’s funny!
Now Mick Ralphs, to me he was and is still a great guitar player but from some of the shows I’ve seen, you clearly play a lot of the main lead work … I mean how’s that as a situation, I mean is it kind of because Mick doesn’t want to do much or is it because he’s kind of been … I know he’s been kind of out of the bigger scene for a while but he been coming back into it …

Howard: Well if you watch the Wembley one, which is more recent, it’s pretty well split up. Part of it is that I’m playing these parts with the solo band, every year …

AW: Right …, sure …

Howard: And these guys come in and out and part of it is he’s a sweet gentleman and he’s generous. So he says ‘Here you are, you do that one and I’ll do this one …’ And we actually if you listen to Wembley, our rhythm guitar interplay, really developed into a pretty great style … Our styles are so different, that when we play, we get a little bit of that push and pull thing that like Keith (Richards) and Woody (Ron Wood) kind of thing …

AW: Yeah …

Howard: We have different accents you know, I accent this way and he accents that way and we put it all together and it makes this really cool … You can’t teach that kind thing in school, rock ‘n’ roll …

AW: No, no …

Howard: So cool. I just love working with Mick, he’s such a sweet, sweet guy so … I’m in touch with him all the time. I’ve been to his house up on Henley-on-Thames … His house was built in 1430 …

AW: Wow!

Howard: (Laughing) Yeah! (Both laughing) I mean it was built before Columbus even discovered America, how does that happen?!

AW: That probably takes some work! (Laughing) That’s awesome, isn’t that great?!

Howard: So you know ….

Ed’s note: At this point Howard and I lost our phone connection …, but we did connect again … Read on!

AW: Hello?

Howard: I lost you somewhere there …

AW: Yeah, wondered what was going on?! Are you talking on a cellphone or …

Howard: No, I’m on a wireless phone, in the house. It might have just run out of power …

AW: OK, OK … That’s really cool about Mick and everything.

Howard: No, he’s sweet, he really is. We’re hoping to do some more Bad Company shows this year. We did a full tour a couple of years ago and then toward the end of it he was really feeling it. He had his hip going out on him and he actually had to cancel on us, when we went to Japan. He just couldn’t make it he was in a wheelchair he was in so much pain.

AW: Oh boy, bless him …

Howard: But he went and had the surgery and now he’s fine, so there you go.

AW: Oh great!

Howard: So hopefully we can go and do some Bad Company shows, I really enjoy doing that and it’s different for me, because I’m more the rhythm player, he does most of the solos in Bad Company, so it’s a little bit of a different role for me … Those are his songs, you know.

AW: Yeah …

Howard: He and Paul wrote those songs, it’s just so great to be with the guy who wrote that stuff and I love playing with Simon. I’m going to be playing a couple of gigs here with Simon in a couple of weeks.

AW: Really?

Howard: Yeah, he’s part of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy camp family and we’re doing a couple of corporate gigs, and he’s coming over to play those, so … It’ll be nice, I haven’t seen him in over a year so …

AW: That’s cool, yeah, I was going to say, that was one of the next questions and you were talking about more Bad Company live dates and so that’s good … Will it be Lynn (Sorensen – Bassist on the Wembley DVD) playing onboard with you guys?

Howard: No it wouldn’t be Lynn, Lynn’s not doing it anymore. Right now in the solo band we have some guys from Vancouver, in Canada, where Paul lives …

AW: He’s just got his citizenship right?

Howard: Yes he did! Well the guy that we had in England last year, his name is Todd Ronning and he had to fill in last minute as Lynn’s passport expired …

AW: Oh boy!

Howard: That’s how he originally got the job though, as our original bass player Jason Boylestone couldn’t got to Europe or the UK and so they had Lynn fill in and ending up liking Lynn and then the same thing happened to Lynn. He couldn’t go to the UK, somebody ending up filling in and they ending up liking him so …

AW: Right, right … I have another question for you that may be a little difficult, I don’t know but again if it is a difficult one then again I can leave it out of the final interview …

Howard: I can tip toe around it, this is not my first interview …

AW: (Laughing) No, no, of course not. The Bad Company shows, kind of time and time again there’s probably a lot of times you guys get asked these questions and that is, what about new material?

Howard: (A moments silence …) I know …

AW: Is that something that Paul’s likely to do or is that something that he feels, why do I need to? I mean he’ll do new solo material, but he won’t write new Bad Company material …

Howard: I know … You know we do new songs all the time with Paul. We had two or three new songs in the set last year, that hadn’t been recorded and the solo dates … We’re always learning new stuff.

AW: Right, I can believe it …

Howard: … And I’ve been talking to Mick and I go ‘Mick, what’s the matter man, what are you doing man, you’re sitting at home, write some new songs, you’re such a great writer … Write some new stuff!’ I’m trying to push for that myself, as much as possible … I think a new Bad Company record would be great! We were on tour three years ago and we put out ‘The Best of Free and Bad Company featuring Paul Rodgers’ and that was just a compilation of thirty year old records and that went top ten on Billboard in the States!

AW: I know, I know!

Howard: And in the UK …, but it was top ten in the States and I’m going, ‘How can a thirty year old record …’

AW: (Laughing) Right!

Howard: ‘… Of old stuff, be top ten?!’ So I’m going ‘Obviously, the next step, the next record will be a new Bad Company record.’

AW: Right, because there’s certainly demand for it, I mean as you say, just look at that right?!

Howard: I would love to do that! It just seems such a no brainer …

AW: I know, I know!!! That’s what I keep thinking, I mean I’m like going, it’ll be so cool and a lot of people say, ‘What’s the deal with Paul Rodgers? Is he just going through the motions because he doesn’t want to write new material? I mean is he content to just carry on, plugging away, playing the same songs night in, night out …

Howard: We’re always doing new stuff ..., but yeah, Bad Company definitely it would have to be Mick and Paul … They just need to spend some time in the same room and come up with stuff because both are very creative but I’m with you 100% on that, I think new Bad Company material would be fantastic because if you don’t, you’re just playing the hits and that’s just a nostalgia deal and we have lots of fans … I mean we played in England a couple of years ago … They hadn’t played in England for thirty years …

AW: I know …

Howard: That was great, I mean that made a big splash and that was great for the fans there, to see them again, but yeah going forward, you don’t want to be doing that over and over again, to stay current you need to have current music, so I’m with you 100% …

AW: Right and … It’s funny because about that gig and so on and the interviews with the fans on the DVD, it’s great you know with people saying, we’ve all been waiting for this for such a long time so it was cool. It was very cool, so are you …

Howard: You know Paul always writing new stuff and each time I see him he’s got some new stuff and he did a song on my solo record that we wrote together a couple of years ago and you know … A writer has to write, they always do and a couple of his songs, we worked on with the solo band, ended up on the Queen record and we’ve got a couple of new songs that could easily go on a new Bad Company record so …, I’d love to see that happen.

AW: Excellent! Well that’s encouraging news anyway …

Howard: Well sure, it might …

AW: Nudge him? (Laughing)

Howard: Yeah, it might give him a nudge, yeah!

AW: Appreciate that Howard, thank you sir! (Both laughing) I do like the way you and Mick play off each other, I really do, I mean I’m a heavy advocate of harmony lead work to be honest with you and Thin Lizzy’s probably one of my favourite British bands and I’ve always loved harmony solo stuff and on that DVD, when you and Mick are jamming the harmonies, it’s awesome stuff, I love it!

Howard: Yeah, I love that too. Did you like Wishbone Ash?

AW: It’s funny they were one of the … A lot of people say that and even Scott Gorham would say to me, 'You know Wishbone Ash were doing this stuff long before us …'

Howard: Yeah, Thin Lizzy …

AW: Right, right and I talk to Scott from time to time as well and …

Howard: there’s just something about it you know, something that suddenly these raunchy distorted guitar tones, when you play in harmony, it’s sweet and beautiful.

AW: It’s awesome!

Howard: Isn’t that weird? I love it when we do harmony I do it a lot on my own records …

AW: Yeah … I love the Heart stuff I really do

Howard: Yeah? Thank you, that’s good to know.

AW: You welcome, seriously and well you’ve got so much material out there with Heart so it’s like, it’s a no brainer there and of course I gave you a lovely review of 'Secret Weapon' so I do like that.

Howard: I appreciate that! I appreciate that very much.

AW: … And I was moving on to that next! So, Howard Leese solo … What next after that fantastic album?

Howard: Well, I’m almost halfway with my next one. I’ve been recording here and there, little bits and pieces. I’ve done another piece from 'West Side Story,' you know I did 'Somewhere' on the first record …

AW: Yeah …

Howard: And in the interim, I was able to acquire a beautiful old guitar, a 1939 Gibson L5 that belonged to Al Viola he was Frank Sinatra’s guitar player …

AW: Wow!

Howard: This is the guitar that’s on ‘My Way,’ it’s on a lot of Sinatra hits, it’s been on stage with Sinatra, the guy played it for 50 years and he did about 100 movies with it, one of which was ‘West Side Story …

AW: Right, there you go …!

Howard: So I have the real guitar from ‘West Side Story,’ so I recorded ‘Maria.’


Howard: On that guitar!

AW: Awesome! That is fantastic!

Howard: Yeah, I feel just … You know, that guitar will be in the Smithsonian one day, every person on the planet has heard that guitar at one time or another and I just thought, ‘How great to do a piece that was recorded in 1960, do it now with the same guitar, only the guitar is the featured star on the same lead …’

AW: Oh yeah …

Howard: It sounds beautiful, it records beautifully and I’ve done that and I’ve got about four other songs mostly finished and so far they’re all instrumentals, I haven’t done any vocal songs yet, so I’ll have to write some songs with vocals, because so far it’s all guitar music, but I’m real proud of it, I think it’s my best work ever, so I’ll continue to chip away at it. I do it all mostly just by myself, so it takes a little while, but I’m working on it.

AW: Well good for you that’s great to hear, it really is. I’m looking forward to that, because I loved the variety that you managed to capture on there … I mean jazz, some jazz / rock, I mean ’33 West Street,’ blues rock of ‘I’ve Been Leaving You,’ the laid back … I mean the Keith Emerson piece, as short as it was, but you know …

Howard: It could’ve been a longer with Keith (Laughing),

AW: (Laughing) Yeah, I’m sure!

Howard: We’ve worked together a number of times in the last few years, when I do a little charity gig here in L.A., I have a little solo band that I do gigs for charity and when I do something that’s a cool gig, Keith will come and be my keyboard player, so it’s like ‘Wow!’ (Both laughing) I mean my solo band has Keith Emerson on keyboards! So we have a bit of a relationship, I wouldn’t hesitate to call him and see if he wanted to put something down for me. That’s a good idea too, I should be making notes!

AW: There you go, you certainly should! That’d be cool.

Howard: Well especially in England, my record did real well. The critics loved it in England it got a lot of airplay and it ended up on a lot of year end Top 20 album lists, with records that I really admire, so I feel great about that.

AW: I think in Europe, Frontiers (Records) are great, they really have been good for the market if you will …

Howard: Yeah … I agree.

AW: I think it’s good stuff.

Howard: Those guys are coming over at the end of February and I’m going to meet with them, they’re coming from Italy to say ‘Hello’ so I’m going to go down and have a meeting with them.

AW: There you go … So there’s a bit more nudge for you then to get this next album done.

Howard: Yeah, well I’ll see if they’re interested in the next one and if they are, that’ll be a good nudge.

AW: Yeah, you’ll have to get some vocals done then, before they come over! (Laughing)

Howard: Luckily I know lots of good singers …

AW: (Laughing) Yeah, I’ve noticed!

Howard: Yeah, I’m known for working with the best singers, so …

AW: Aww yeah, no kidding! ‘Secret Weapon’s’ got some fantastic vocals on there! Really!
It’s funny, you actually dropped a copy to me as I couldn’t get a copy through my contacts at Frontiers, as it wasn’t being released on Frontiers in the States, so when I was reviewing for ‘Rock ’n’ Roll Universe’ which is now gone …, the owner decided to cut it back to just a rock forum, as the site was too much work for him to manage. The review is actually still up there, in the reviews section within the forum.

Howard: Right …

AW: Sometimes at the location now and this seems intermittent, but sometimes it requires people to login and at other times it doesn’t? - - Strange, but the review is still up there …

Howard: Oh, I’ll have to go and check that out.

AW: Yeah, I’ll drop you a link to it.

Howard: Yeah, please do.

AW: OK then. Good stuff …

Howard: Well when I was ready to put the record out, I put it out in July and at the time, Frontiers opened their US office in April, they’d just started it so I didn’t know if it was going to have any clout in the States and I kind of wanted to keep complete artistic control over it and you know, if I got a song in a movie or TV show or something like that … So I just decided to keep it myself. I never actually, formally released it in the States, you know people could get it directly from me, but I was about the only one, the only way to do it, but in the rest of the world Frontiers did it and they got it out in Japan and all over the place …

AW: Right, there’s a few artists that still do that here in the States, where it was like the Journey record came out on Frontiers in Europe, but it came out through Walmart of course over here.

Howard: Right.

AW: And I know Y&T sold their last album over here, directly through their website, their last one ‘Facemelter …’

Howard: Yeah ….

AW: I think that came out on Frontiers in Europe …

Howard: Yeah, that is a good way to go here in the States, because that way you can control it, as much as you can control anything anymore. I mean you put your album out and 24 hours later it’s on a Russian website for a penny a song and you’re not going to get the penny!

AW: Yeah, I know, that’s bad!

Howard: That makes it kind of tricky, but if people want a real copy, on CD, they just write in and I send it to them.

AW: That’s me and I’m a bit of a sad old trivia freak and I love all that all the sleeve notes and stuff …

Howard: So do I …

AW: I always want to know who’s played on what, on an album …

Howard: Right.

AW: It’s a bit of a sad thing with doing the review stuff now, that when I get (Album) download links, I’ll open it up and say this sucks, you’ll get a press release and you know, it doesn’t give you all the information, so …

Howard: No and back in the day, we’d have the twelve inch by twelve inch sleeve, with all the artwork, with the notes and stuff and you could really do something with that. I kind of miss that too, you used to be able to not only release a piece of music, but you also had the artwork and all that stuff and you know, your design aesthetic went into all of that and I kind of miss that, that’s why when I did my record I did all the artwork myself and did all that stuff myself and it was kind of fun.

Secret Weapon original US artwork

AW: Yeah, it was very nice! Nice job for sure and I agree with you 100% and artists would always put comment on there, on the sleeve and stuff, so that was always cool as well and sometimes you’d even get the story on there, about how the record came about and all stuff like that.

Howard: And you feel that it’s a little window to their world and you feel a little bit more connected to the project, you know a bit more about it and you feel you know the artist a little better, I mean you used to sit there, put the record on and look at the album cover and read the album cover while the record was playing and you really got immersed in the whole thing.

AW: You did and I remember that’s how we learned all the lyrics to all the songs too and that’s how we got them right! (Laughing)

Howard: (Laughing) Right …

AW: When we’re singing along, we’re singing the right lyrics and these days people are just guessing! (Laughing)

Howard: They’re guessing! Which is interesting …?!

AW: Which is interesting! That’s cool, that’s great news to hear that there’s a new one on the way.

Howard: Yep!

AW: It’s just a question of when you have time to wrap things up right?

Howard: Yeah, well I do need to get back to it actually, I did a little project, progress last month, but I’ll try to get it finished by the end of the year.

AW: Then of course, moving swiftly onto the guy that hooked us up, Mr. (Stuart) Smith …

Howard: Yeah, they’re doing a new record and it’s pretty cool, I went over and played on a song the other day.

AW: Yeah, he was just telling me that and I plugged it up on the site as one of my news items and ….
Stuart and I have become great friends believe it or not, since last year …

Howard: Well that’s good.

AW: Yeah, smashing guy, lovely guy … And in fact this is the third one you’ve played on right? You’ve played on all of them and actually produced the last one?

Howard: Right. Produced the last one - Windows to the World - and I’m going to produce a little bit on this one. He just wants me to come in when they do the lead vocals, because I’m good with singers. On this new one, I’ve played a little bit of twelve string (Guitar) and he wants me to write a chart for a choir …

AW: Oh wow …

Howard: Yeah and David Paich from Toto is writing the charts for the orchestra, so it’s going to be a full production, rock band, choir and orchestra.

AW: There you go …

Howard: There’s one song on there, a pretty big ballad …. I think it’s going to be pretty good.
He makes good records; he knows what he’s doing.

AW: He does and it’s a shame more people aren’t aware of him, so I’m more than happy to plug him. I think the guy is a great player, he’s a smashing guy and he works with some great people.

Howard: Yeah and nobody’s it anymore, it’s a good old fashioned straight ahead rock and roll band, you know melodic, heavy … It’s kind of something that people are missing these days I think ...

AW: Yeah, I agree with you, I do and it’s funny ‘cos he’s been saying to me (Laughs), he says, ‘You know Alun, you need to talk to some more people, I need to help you, introduce you to some more people, because we have to get melodic rock back on the top …!’

Howard: Yeah …

AW: So I said, ‘No problem Stuart, go ahead …’ He (Stuart) says, 'You need to talk to David Paich (Toto), you know I played him this new song and he said, ‘I’ve got to put some strings on there for you …’ (Laughing)

Howard: Well he’s good that way, he’s a real good networker and he does know a lot of real good people and he has a way of talking you into doing stuff...

AW: (Laughing) Yeah right …

Howard: But you know, it’s the life of an artist, you do what you do, but I think this new project’s going to be really good, he came over the other day and played me most of the tracks and it’s pretty strong, they have a really good singer … (Joe Retta)

AW: Yeah, Joe’s great, I spoke to him recently …

Howard: Yeah, he’s right up there and I’m thinking … Well, the thing about these projects is each one has had a different singer. He’s had … You know Kelly Hansen (Hurricane) was on the first one and he’s with Foreigner now.

AW: Right, Joe Lynn Turner was on the first one and a bunch of other people and couple of other guys on there too …, right? – Ed’s notes: Memory went blank for a moment there …

Howard: Yep and then the one I produced had Kelly Keeling on it, different guy, but now there’s this Joe, who he’s been working with for a few years now and they’re writing together and I think he’s a really good singer, so I think this record’s going to come out well.

AW: Yeah … It was nice actually, I actually spent the day and the evening with The Sweet when the guys came and played here, just round the corner from me, it was a festival they played at and spent the day with these guys. Lovely guys, all of them … Joe, cool guy and Steve Priest of course was … He’s a little odd (Laughs)

Howard: (Laughing) Yeah, he’s a funny one …

AW: He’s still a nice enough guy, you know and Richie (Onori) of course, great drummer and nice guy too …

Howard: Yeah, Richie’s good, good bunch of folks so this record is … You know, that’s the thing that Stuart gets, he gets everyone working at the best of their abilities so I think the record’s going to come out good.

AW: Sure, sure … So, how did you first make the connection with Stuart, I’m curious on that one? Was it through Richie? Richie Sambora?

Howard: No I don’t think so, we actually used to go hiking together, we used to go hiking all the time by the Hollywood sign in the Hill’s, where they found a head the other day …

AW: Oh, nice!!!

Howard: Someone was walking their dog and they found a head in a paper bag and I guess they found the hands and the feet the next day …

AW: Oh no …!

Howard: Yeah … So, yeah we just used to go hiking all the time and I live nearby and I don’t know how we first got together, it’s just knowing all the same people in Hollywood you know and it just came up that we like to hike and so we’d get up each morning and do three or four miles up in the Hills and he was recording the first Heaven and Earth album and when it came to doing all the solos, Pat Regan who was the producer, he just got busy doing another project and he asked me, ‘Could you come in and produce all the solo’s? Get them down on tape with Stuart, you seem to work well with Stuart and you’re a good guitar player so you’ll probably do a good job on it. So that’s when I first started working with them. I produced the solos on the first record. That was special.

AW: There you go, that was cool. So I guess kind of my final question Howard is, so what’s the very next thing on your plate or is it kind of under wraps right now?

Howard: No, no, no … In February I’ve got a couple of ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp’ gigs, with me, Simon (Kirke), Rudy Sarzo, Robin McAuley is going to sing and the guys from the Fantasy camp. We have two corporate gigs in February and in March I start with Paul Rodgers.


Howard: I’ll probably be busy all summer. We only have three shows booked so far, Vancouver, Seattle and Las Vegas, but I’m sure more will be added as we go along.
We usually do about thirty shows a year and that’s about it, as far as I know ….

AW: There you go then. So, do you think there’s any likelihood of the solo album coming out this year or most likely next year at the moment? – Heavy sigh from Howard – Hard to say at this time?

Howard: That’s impossible to say, I’ll be happy if I get it finished this year.

AW: Right.

Howard: Put it out next year … I’m not in a hurry, there’s no big hurry. I just do it when I have the time and when I have the inspiration, like I said, I have about four tracks that are recorded but mainly I’m still writing. Need to write some great material, record it and see what I like the best, but it’s so great to work on my solo stuff ‘cos I can do it right here in my house. I feel like a blank canvas you know, I get up in the morning and just paint if I feel it, some days I have it and some days I don’t, so …

AW: Yeah, my wife and I both jam so that’s great having a mutual shared interest, works wonders.

Howard: Yeah, that’s great.

AW: She plays keys and I’m the drummer so …

Howard: Oh, nice.

AW: Yeah, so we can jam anything, anytime you know?

Howard: Yeah! That’s very cool. Do you have a setup in your house?

AW: Yeah, we’ve got the basement setup, we don’t have any recording equipment down there unfortunately but we can jam at anytime and the kids love coming down and love it …

Howard: Nowadays for about $100 you can buy a Zoom recorder, which sounds amazing and has video. You could just set it up on a little stand in your room and you’d be recording usable audio and high definition video. It’s incredible how small and how inexpensive the gear is getting. It used to be you needed a whole roomful of stuff to record and now you can do it on a laptop.

AW: Yeah … (Laughing) No kidding!
Yeah, I remember the old Fostex four track recorders …

Howard: Yeah? I had the old Tascam four track, I had the Tascam eight track and you know, recorder on tape and ‘Dreamboat Annie’ was done on two inch, sixteen track …

AW: (Laughing) there you go … Funny old times … Well listen Howard, smashing talking to you and who knows, if Bad Company play here or the Paul Rodgers band, however it comes out this year, is it going to be Paul Rodgers?

Howard: Yeah, well just get a hold of me and we’ll talk at the venue and that’ll be good.

AW: Yeah, that’ll be excellent. What I’ll do is I’ll drop you a link to the old review I did and hopefully it comes up for you, after I’ve said all that to you …

Howard: Right …

AW: Again, absolutely smashing to talk to you, take care.

Howard: Yeah, you too. Talk to you soon.

AW: OK thanks, bye.

Official weblinks:

My sincere thanks to both Howard and Stuart for setting this up, both great guys and I know for sure, that there are two great new albums on the way ..., can't wait!