Black Swan

Black Swan are a new and exciting band in Melodic Rock/Metal that includes some veteran musicians and vocalist extraordinaire Robin McAuley. (MSG/F, Grand Prix etc.). Following him getting an all clear from his doctors after a recent health scare, we got in touch to ask a few things about this new effort “Shake the World” that came out just recently.
Black Swan band pic
Hi Robin and thanks for doing this interview. Congrats on the brilliant debut, Shake the World”. Firstly, how are you? You really gave us a scare, when you were taken ill, all by the sudden. Is everything alright now?
 
R: I’m doing great Dimitrios thank you. Got a Sepsis infection that put me in hospital but the great Doctors and Nurses were incredible and I am back in the saddle, as good as ever.
 
 
How did Black Swan come about? Was it a proposal by Frontiers, did you know each other and decided to work together and someone had a link?
 
R: Well it was a Frontiers idea and a call from Jeff Pilson, whom I’ve known for many years. He was my best man 27 years ago, so we go back a long time together and I knew I could trust him. Matt I know from Rock Vault in Vegas, he’s a very capable player and Reb I met one time when I was singing with Survivor and he was with Night Ranger filling in.
 
 
What’s with the name?
 
R: You know how a Black Swan is a rare, but usually bad occurrence? In our case it’s a rare gathering of great musicians and a heavier one!
 
 
How does the creative process work in Black Swan?
 
R: These are all new songs and co-written by Reb, Jeff and myself. They sent me the music and I wrote melody and lyrics and we all came together for pre-production before I recorded the lead vocals and background vocals. Seems to be the way most people work these days.
 
 
There’s a great variety on the album, from songs raising concerns about the world, society, love songs etc… please indulge a bit more into their topics? Any particular favorites other than the title track and first single?
 
R: We just began writing and the topics kinda’ took shape very naturally. No blueprint or deep discussion about what we should write about or even the style. It just felt right and sounded right. I think we all have deep thoughts and opinions about world issues etc. so it’s kinda natural that current topics will be touched upon. We hope for a change. And of course you can’t be all doom and gloom, so we want to have a few lighter tunes. I can’t really pick any favorites.
 
 
When McAuleySchenker Group (your version of MSG) split, what happened? Was it personal differences? Other reasons?
 
R: McAuleySchenker ran its course for the time. MTV and VH1 very much a part of how we structured the writing. If you got a song on MTV and had chart success you were more likely to get the tour. Still very much a fun time in the industry. Grunge and Alternative changed all that however. That said Classic Rock never really went away, it just took a backseat that decade after 92/3. But Rock and Metal is still alive and well today. Sweden Rock saw Schenker Fest reconnect and we’ve been recording and touring ever since. Since there wasn’t any big drama, it wasn’t too difficult to pick things up and involving everyone shows that bygones are bygones. I am here to rock, be it with Michael or Black Swan! Bring it on!
 
 
Tell us a bit about Raiding The Rock Vault?
 
R: Raiding The Rock Vault, is a rock concert spectacle and it’s beginning its 7th year in Vegas having performed almost 1500 shows! It has an amazing lineup of musicians which include two Rock and Roll Hall of Famers. Howard Leese. (Heart and Bad Co), Hugh McDonald (Bon Jovi), Rowan Robertson (Dio), Todd Kerns (Slash), Paul Shortino (Ruff Cutt) and many more. Go to raidingtherockvault.com for complete info. We perform 5nights weekly. Saturday through Wednesday.
 
 
You haven’t been in Europe as far as I know, counting out the MSG(F) tours of recent, and even during those Michael has not performed certain songs ie “Never Ending Nightmare” was a huge hit – but it’s not been aired since 1992. Is there a particular reason?
 
R: I personally would love to come perform in your beautiful Greece. Not sure why MS Festival has not been there yet? Could be not enough of a demand but I’ll try to find out ok!!! Otherwise, there’s no active band I could tour with, until Black Swan undertakes a tour, that is.
 
But to address the second part of the question, we do perform some Mcauley Schenker songs during the MSF set. “Anytime”, “Love is Not a Game”, “This is My Heart”. Etc. it’s a 2 ,5 hour set but still difficult to fit everything in. As far as I am aware, there’s no reason not to include “Never Ending Nightmare” or other songs, but maybe it has to do something with needing to switch to acoustics etc... I think eventually more songs will be performed.
 
 
When you were growing up, what artists inspired you and when did you realize you had a gift and wanted to do this for a living?
 
R: I always loved Motown and still listen daily to many of those great songs. Great great lyrics, melodies. Paul Rodgers of course. Free was just awesome. Thin Lizzy of course speaking of melodies and guitars. Always wanted to be a world class drummer but failed miserably. Singing wasn’t my thing, it just happened. I’m still working on it!!!
 
 
As a guy that was there, pre-napster etc., and obviously is still around, how do you feel about the changes in the industry?
 
R: There have been radical changes for sure, but I’m just happy I can still work. I also feel blessed that I got to work with so many incredible musicians. I’ve made so many great friends and recorded in some fantastic studios. That’s changed also as now you can record in your living room and it sounds amazing.
 
 
Do you follow the current rock scene? If so any favorites?
 
R: I love myself some Sabaton, Nightwish, Laguna Coil etc., I get to do a lot of catch-up during the fest and I try to keep abreast with what’s going on. But I still love Classic Rock most. Still, music is for listening so I don’t restrict my ears ever in case I miss something!
 
 
Are there touring plans in place for Black Swan? Could we ever hope to see you in Greece?
 
R: I hope Greece is in my future Tour Plans. Black Swan would be great live but we’ll have to see. It’s all possible but takes planning of course.
 
 
Thx for talking to Grande Rock Robin. Finish as you wish!
 
R: Thank you for being there and for supporting us. I try to live in the moment. I’m happy and content and have a beautiful family and friends. Music has been good to me and I still love what I do. Can’t ask for more than that. I can’t believe that I’ve just made a record that is by far the best sounding record I’ve ever been on. Black Swan is that band and I’m forever grateful for all the positive comments we’ve had so far. Thank you so much guys for your time and great review and thanks to all the fans who will lend an ear.