D: Thanks so much for that. It’s a combination of old songs I had in my library that I thought would never see the light of day to be honest. Plus, there are some covers that I’ve always wanted to do.
It’s been almost 2 years… since the Push (UK) debut album… this time you’re back with a solo release. What happened in the meantime?
D: I’ve been busy with production work and songwriting and the occasional gig of course. I’m still in touch with the Push (UK) guys though.
Although you have been in the scene for many years (since the 80s), you’ve only managed to release your personal and your band’s album now. Why do you think that happened? I believe it’s never late to make you dreams come true…
D: I agree with you, you never know when you might get a break in this business. The 80s were a frustrating time for the band as we were so close to a deal with CBS, RCA and Island Records but it never quite came to fruition. I am both shocked and delighted by the way my solo album has been received as AOR is where my heart is… as you say it’s never too late for your dreams to come true. (i.n.: I’m glad you’re finally given the chance…)
Did you have in mind to go solo or release a new Push (UK) album? Is there gonna be a new album from Push (UK) as well?
D: No plans for another Push (UK) album just yet and a solo release was offered to me by the label.
I think that some of the songs which are included in “City of Angels” have been written quite long ago. Did you use the softest & most melodic material you have written all these years in this album?
D: It’s true, I picked songs that were written through the 80s and early 90s as I’ve always been a fan of good melodic songs.
So, tell us… why did you call the album “City of Angels”? Is there any reference to
D: The thought behind the title was, that in every city there are good and bad experiences, in the lyric of this this song the story is one of irony, the guy is saying he is lost in a city of angels (women) but is finding it hard to find the right person.
How did you come up with the idea of covering “Hands To Heaven” by Breathe, “Inside Love” by Seven & “I Don’t Want To Wait Anymore” by The Tubes?
D: Well, the idea for the Tubes track was mine… I’ve always loved this song. Regarding the song, “Hands to Heaven”… It was my labels idea. I must say I do like this song as well.
Tell us about the beautiful duet you have with Suzie Ashby… how did you cooperate with her? Did you have in mind to make this song a duet from the first time?
D: Suzi is an old friend of mine from back in the 80’s… She was the lead vocalist of the 70’s girl trio Silver Convetion. They had a world wide hit with the song “Get Up and Boogie”. Having said that, Suzi was always a Rocker at heart, she later went on to sing a record many rock tracks. She also sung with the Band Magnum when their vocalist took a break to record a solo Project. The called themselves Hard Rain for 1 or 2 Albums. Suzi and I did several demos recording back in the early 90’s. And “Where do We Go from Here”, the song that is being featured on my “City of Angels” CD is one of those songs.
Although the production is good, I think that it could have been better… but I wouldn’t like a modern one though… I like that sweet 80s feeling it has. Would you change anything if you had the chance to do so?
D: To be honest, as you know I produced the CD with my friend Jon Dewsbury. We worked to the budget that was available for this recording. But having said that, I’m very happy with the result of our work. I’m not sure if with a larger production budget we would have been able to get a much better sound. We wanted those 80’s sounds, keys, drums and rich reverb guitar sounds, and so on...
By the way, I think that your performances on the album are amazing. Probably, when someone loves this kind of music they can’t help but sing… with passion and warmth… right?
D: You know, I can honestly say that I always try to sing from the heart rather than the head. Especially if the songs are my own. Also the fact that the album had a great musical vibe really helps with the vocal recording. I also had some fantastic vocalists help me out on backing vocals. Sarah Leamen, Brad Henshaw, Rob Hewins and Suzi Ashby.
I’ve written: “This album smells 80s from miles away… I could have easily thought that this was another great lost album from the 80s” in my review… What do you think of it?
D: Like I said… We purposely produced the songs in the 80’s vain. That’s how I wanted the songs to sound for this “City of Angels” project; I wanted to respect the mood of the original demos. (i.n.: and you did it greatly…)
How do you see young people reacting on the album? How do the fans see
D: So far I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the over all acceptance of my album. My son is 15, and he writes and produces his own material. He loves the album. He loves rock and has grown up listening to Journey, Boston, AC DC Black Sabbath, Van Halen, Zeppelin and many others. He’s friends around the same age also like songs off the CD. So I think the young people today have a wide music taste thanks to the Internet and easy accessibility to all kinds of music. The one thing that has changed for the worst is selling your songs. CD sales are very poor nowadays. Its like a given that you are going to hand your songs over for nothing, thanks to piracy and illegal mp3 downloads.
Why, especially today, people have the feeling that there isn’t any good music around… even though there are plenty of releases each month… and some good ones as well. What are we missing these days that the 70s or the 80s didn’t miss when it comes to quality music?
D: I think we are missing Musicians to be honest. Back in the 50sc, 60s, 70s, 80s, you had to be a band and play live, write you own songs and have a good image, since the 90’s and the introduction of the dance tracks, sampling, drum machines and so on… the live players kind of got put on the back burner… but I can happily say, that nowadays the young kids are taking to the band scene again, and more and more bands are coming to the for front of the music industry… bands like, The Script, Artic Monkeys, Muse, The Black Keys, Paramore, Kings of Leon, Ben Howard, Ed Sheeren and many others…
Can the “old” bands give a “push” and make the scene as strong as it was before? Does
D: I believe that the music scene always needs new blood… If only to keep the music industry fresh and interesting. Music needs to constantly evolve, experimentation is important, having said all this, no matter what type of music emerges…programmed or live it always comes back to the basic 4 piece band, guitar, bass, drums and keyboards.
What things can go wrong and a band that has the potential to make a big break, does not make it at all in the end? Which things prevented Push (UK) from debuting and then move on, back in the late 80s?
D: Many things can go wrong… In the 80’s the image was a very important part of the bands chance of a deal, not just the write songs and so on…
I’ve had friends of mine dropped from there bands at the showcase stage because a major label was interested in the band but didn’t like the look of one of the band member, the labels attitude was… I like what I’m hearing and seeing, but get rid of the guitarist, he doesn’t look right, then I’ll come back and see you guys… things like this happens a lot… then of course they would come back after you got rid of a friend and long term member of the band only to find that they still don’t sign you, for another reason…
Also bad management will kill your chances of getting a record deal… (i.n.: some true 80s incidents… from the inside)
If you had the chance to release your debut back in the late 80s… how do you imagine the band’s career would be like today?
D: Well, Push (UK) Stopped playing together in 1987… everyone went off to peruse different projects. All though we all kept in touch, we’re still friends now.
I release my first solo project in 1991… with the Spanish record label Home Records. They were based in Madrid. The album was called “One On One”. It was half songs in Spanish and the other half in English… on this album I tried a different style of music… a little more soulful vocally and pop… I had a top 40 hit in Spain with the single “To Ter Top”. After this CD I did other projects including a Gospel covers CD… that was album that gave me the most success in my currier so far… it produced 2 top 40 USA Latin Billboard hits between 1994 and 1997.
Who did you have the most enjoyable co-operation with throughout the years?
D: Well, I’ve always enjoyed working with my friend and co-producer Jon Dewsbury over the years… also my producer friend Rob Derbyshire.
What inspires you to write music in general? Are there any boundaries on your musical horizon?
D: I’m inspired by life events that happen to me, or people that are close to me, I need to feel something emotionally to create something real. That doesn’t mean I can’t write a song in what ever style when I want. I just get a little satisfaction out of the deeper felt lyrics... its just a personal thing really. Also I love all kinds of music so love to write all styles of songs…
I bet that being around so many years … you’ve got, possibly, some very good stories to tell… about music in general… co-operations… studio work… etc… would you like to share any story with us?
D: Sure… I’ve worked with Edwin Starr back in the day… I toured with him as a backing vocalist… great experience, he was a great performer. I’ve done TV shows with Enrique Iglesias, Ricky Martin, Jon Secada, Paul Carrack and many others. I’ve worked with legendary song writer Albert Hammond, and did some backing vocal session for bands and artists like… Tony Mills, Wraith, Atlantic Power, Edwin Starr, Kenny Rogers, Rattlesnake Kiss, Bvs for ZP ex vocalist from the band Dragon force. Dante Fox, and many others…
I see that we are on a terminal point... where especially the younger music fans have to re-consider their way of getting their music… Downloading a band’s music instead of buying it will cause a huge problem in the end… no one will record and release music anymore and that will be a total music destruction. So, how do you see the future of this so called “free music” culture? What shall the musicians (and the labels) do if they want to keep producing music without losing their money and time?
D: I know that labels and artists are always looking of ways to minimize this problem… but it’s very difficult with the internet and illegal downloads as you say. I don’t know what the solution will be in the future. I just hope that the true music fans who appreciate the work that goes into the CDs of their favorite bands will keep supporting them by buying the work. One can only hope.
And some weird Questions now!!! Which are the things that piss you off from today’s music industry?
D: The fact that labels will not invest money into a new act anymore... they want everything on a plate before considering signing you. So much for artistic development. Also something I don’t like much is this Pop star over night culture we have with programs like X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent and so on. The kids on these shows are not ready most of the time for a career in music. They haven’t put the years and hard graft learning the trade, like the musicians of my time did.
Having said that… I realize that shows like the X Factor and the Voice are the new Showcase system. If you don’t get on these shows it’s a hard road to being discovered. It’s the same old same old saying… The Power of Television… (i.n.: and of the Internet I would add…)
Which are the top 3
D: “Escape” from Journey, “More than a Feeling” from Boston & “High Fidelity” from REO Speedwagon. I say these, but there are so many I really like, it wouldn’t be fair to pick just 3. (i.n.: I know it’s really hard to pick only three out of so many great AOR albums…)
What do you think of the economic crisis that’s threatening people’s lives over the profit of some rich men? Do we need a revolution again?
D: Revolution is a scary and powerful word. But over the centuries has proven to be a real life changing option at different time.
Who is your favorite philosopher and why?
D: Don’t really have one to be honest.
Thank you very much for this wonderful interview David… Thx for the music... Please leave a note to Grande Rock readers… Take care!
D: I’d just like to say to all the readers to keep checking in to Grande Rock for some fab interviews and news… and please do check out my CD “City of Angels”…