All posts by KJ

Kevin DuBrow – 2004 Interview

 November of 2017 marked 10 years since Kevin DuBrow’s passing. This was an interview I did with him in 2004 to promote the release of his solo album “In For The Kill”. It was one of my favorite interviews. Kevin had a love for a lot of the same great 70s hard rock as myself, and was very easy and down to earth to talk with.  Quiet Riot [who lead the LA scene in the early 80s] were huge in the ’80s, and although the band was past their peak at this point, DuBrow could still belt ’em out. RIP. 

 Kevin DuBrow was the frontman for legendary LA metal band QUIET RIOT since the mid 70s.  Back then the band was relatively unknown outside of the LA scene, but also featured a young guitarist named Randy Rhoads. A few years later Rhoads would become internationally known playing on the first 2 Blizzard of Ozz albums [before passing away in a plane crash in March of ’82]. DuBrow however had kept the Quiet Riot name going with guitarist Carlos Cavazo, drummer Frankie Banali [later to work with WASP] and bass players Rudy Sarzo [also with Ozzy’s band] and Chuck Wright. The band was a huge success in the early ’80s with such albums as ‘Metal Health’ and ‘Condition Critical’, both of which featured a few hit singles and great videos. [most notably a Slade cover on each!] 

By ’87 DuBrow was out of the band [following QR III], but revised things in the early ’90s following a short stint as ‘Heat’ with Cavazo. From 1993 to 2001 Quiet Riot would release another string of CDs before splitting in the fall of 2003.
In May of ’04 Shrapnel Records released Kevin DuBrow’s solo album “In For The Kill”, which was an album of covers, mostly obscure ’70s classics by the likes of Deep Purple, Nazareth, the Sweet, Montrose and more. DuBrow had also put together a new band and was on the road as part of the “Bad Boys of Metal” Summer tour, which also featured Jani Lane [ex Warrant singer, RIP] and Steven Adler [ex of Guns N Roses].  

You can still find ‘In For The Kill’ on Amazon. Frankie Banali still carries the Quiet Riot flag these days – touring, and a new album >


Q – Can you tell me a bit about your new solo album?
K – In For the Kill was something I was approached to do in December of last year by Mike Varney from Shrapnel Records. He wanted me to do an album of all cover tunes; actually he wanted Quiet Riot to do it, but Quiet Riot had broken up in September. So, it was something I wanted to do for many many years; I had planned on doing with Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali. I had the songs selected already, so it happened very quickly. We agreed on a price, we agreed on the songs, we went in the studio within 10 days.

Q – So, it was pretty quickly done!?
K – Yes, we just had to find the right musicians. Some guys he had lined up to do it, and one guy I really wasn’t thrilled about using, so we changed one of the players, and we got in a great line-up of guys. He has this great guitar player named Kevin Curry that’s just really got the spirit of the thing down, because it’s a real 70s album in the sense that it’s all songs from that era and the 80s guitar players wouldn’t really be able to cop the feel correctly. So we got Kevin Curry who really pulled it off well. He got Michael Lardie, who was going to record & mix it and also ended up co-producing it with me. He’s super-talented and a really nice guy.

Q – How did you go about picking the songs?
K – They’re obscure covers, like b-sides and outtakes. There’s only one well known song – ‘Stay With Me’ [by The Faces]. Otherwise, it’s ‘Red Light Mama’ [by Humble Pie], ‘Burn On The Flame’ [by The Sweet], ‘Good Rocking Tonight’ [by Montrose], ‘Rolling With My Baby’ [by Silverhead], ‘Drivin Sister’ [Mott The Hoople]. Most of these songs have not been covered before.

Q – That’s good, because most cover albums tend to feature the same songs over and over.
K – Correct. I didn’t want to do ‘Smoke On The Water’, Again!

Q – Why an album of covers as opposed to an album of originals?
K – Because when you do an album of covers every song is great, when you do an album of brand new songs, only a few songs are great. He [Mike Varney] didn’t really want to do a new album from me at that time although I have a whole album’s worth of material written. I wanted to do an album with Glenn Hughes, my good friend from Deep Purple. We’ve been friends for a long time and we’ve been wanting to do something together for a long time, and we probably will next year. But this is what he wanted to do. So, it was an easy way for me to release a record quickly. I was not objected to it at all.

Q – How did you approach doing the covers? There’s a few cover albums out there where they kind of do a note for note cover and then you get a few others that are a bit more experimental.

K – I’m in the middle. I did the arrangements very similar to the originals, but they weren’t note for note. They were with our personalities. We didn’t try to copy the originals but we didn’t try to do it like, say … some of those Hendrix cover albums, where they completely re-do them.

Q – Who else is on the album, other than Kevin [Curry, the guitar player]?
K – Michael Lardie played keyboards and produced with me, Jeff Martin [from Racer X] is on drums, and a guy named Gunter Nezhoda’s bass.

Q – Who’s in your touring band?
K – Jeff Martin on drums, Chuck Wright on bass, and Alex Grossi on guitar. It’s a really good little band.

Q – Are you doing a lot of the covers or mixing it up with the Quiet Riot stuff?
K – We’re doing 3 songs from ‘In For The Kill’ and the rest is Quiet Riot stuff.

Q – Are you changing the 3 around?
K – The same 3. The 3 that I really like doing – ‘Burn On The Flame’, ‘Red Light Mama’ and ‘Good Rocking Tonight’.

Q – Was there any songs that you recorded or considered recording that you took off or decided against at the last minute?
K – We started to record ‘I Ain’t Superstitious’ by The Jeff Beck band, and right at that time we started having major equipment problems, so we took it as an omen that we were done with the tracking.

Q – Growing up and listening to a lot of the early 70s stuff, did you have much of a preference of the British bands or the American bands?
K – I liked the British bands much better. I mean, I liked Montrose. That was the only American band from the 70s I liked. I didn’t care for many American bands. I was a big British rock guy.

Q – Humble Pie!?
K – Loved them! … Free, Spooky Tooth, Bloodwyn Pig – all that stuff! We did a song by Quatermass, ‘Black Sheep Of The Family’.

Q – That’s the Rainbow song!?
K – Yes, that’s the same song. They covered Quatermass’ version. I did the Quatermass’ arrangement.

Q – What will you follow this album up with?
K – I’m going to do an album of originals later in the year. I’ve got the songs written pretty much. And I want to do it with, like, say Glenn, Frankie Banali on drums, somebody cool on guitar, somebody real ’70s’ on guitar; like a Ronnie Montrose or Pat Travers – somebody like that. Someone that’s got that whole bluesy thing going on. I don’t want to use somebody that’s a real ‘Whammy’ Bar, 80s kind of a guy – I’m sick of that kind of guitar playing. There’s nothing wrong with it, I’ve just had my fill of it for a while. It doesn’t have a lot of feel to me.

Q – Are you nervous about being out as a solo artist as opposed to being part of a band?
K – I never even think about it. I’m just out there doing what I feel I need to do for myself. I was always the main songwriter in Quiet Riot, and the lead singer, so whatever I do is going to have a certain distinctive sound to it. It’s up to the people, if they like it and purchase and come see me play. I always try my best to give a good live show.

Q – The last few albums you guys did weren’t too bad. I liked ‘Alive & Well’ a lot. What did you think of that period as far as the albums were concerned?

K – Some songs were better than others. I liked the guy that produced Alive & Well, Bob Marlette. He was real easy to work with. He made it real easy. He really knew how to use the Pro-Tools technology. The song ‘Don’t Know What I Want’ [from Alive & Well] was one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written. There’s some other songs on there…once again, I don’t like to write by committee, so when you get people involved in the songwriting process that aren’t songwriters it can be difficult and frustrating. ‘Guilty Pleasures’ was a lot easier to write, but the guy that produced it wasn’t really a producer, didn’t know what he was doing, so it made the mixing process difficult. I prefer the ‘Terrified’ album we did in ’93. I really like that. It’s heavier, it’s angrier; it’s ballsier, less pop-ish. But the rhythm section … we couldn’t play blues oriented stuff…..

Q – Who’s idea was it to do the remakes on the Alive & Well album?
K – That was Cleopatra’s idea. I hated the idea. I hated the way they turned out too; they’re awful!

Q – Was it just a quick sell idea?
K – Yes, that was their idea. I thought it was just garbage. I can’t express how much I hate those versions.

Q – And you did the AC/DC song on there?
K – That was different. That was for an AC/DC tribute album, and I really quite liked the way that turned out. That was on a one-day recording from beginning to end. It had a lot of energy and a lot of spark and we did it our own way. That I dug.

Q – One thing I like about you guys that you could always recognize, from Terrified, Live & Well, and the earlier ones, that not just because of your voice, but it’s obviously the same band and you never got in to all the experimental crap that the ’90s had.
K – It wouldn’t have been believable from us.

Q – Another thing I’ve always liked about the band is Frankie’s drumming, because he’s one of those drummers that you can actually recognize the drums with.
K – Great drummer! Cozy Powell was like that too. And playing with Frankie is a joy because of that reason.

Q – If you listen to the stuff he did on the WASP albums, he makes a world of difference.
K – For sure.

Q – Was it ever frustrating during the late 80s / early 90s, where you’re connected to that 1 [or 2] albums that were huge and then not getting that same backing again?
K – No. That’s the nature of the business. It’s sort of like evolution. In the evolutionary scale dinosaurs die off and certain animals eat their young. It’s the nature of the business. The business eats it’s young.

Q – You had a few other things during the late 80s/ early 90s, like ‘Heat’!?
K – That was basically me and Carlos doing Quiet Riot with a different rhythm section.

Q – What else do you have in the works?
K – Well, this tour starts, and that’s going to be my big focus. It should be really interesting – 11 guys on a 12 bunk bus starting next week for a month. It should be insane

Q – What are some of your own favorite recording moments?

K – I really like ‘Don’t Know What I Want’ [from Alive & Well] because I really love the song. It turned out so great. ‘Love’s A Bitch’ was great. We did ‘Metal Health’ because it turned out so much different than we expected it to turn out. ‘Bang Your Head’ was probably one of my greatest moments because it sounded like I envisioned it to sound when it was done.

Q – Your album’s not so much ‘metal’. Do you perceive yourself getting away metal stuff and doing more things like blues-rock?
K – Yes, hard-rock / blues-rock – like Free and Humble Pie. But, if Quiet Riot got back together next year we would do a very metal record. And if Quiet Riot ever does get back together I want to continue doing solo stuff because Carlos Cavazo is not a very bluesy guitar player. He can’t do the bluesy stuff I want to do – which is OK, because he sounds right for Quiet Riot. I’d like to do other things. 


Q – Can you tell me any of Randy’s guitar influences?
K – Yes, Bill Nelson from Be-Bop Deluxe; he loved him. He loved Johnny Winter, Leslie West, Glen Buxton from the Alice Cooper Group, Mick Ronson.

Q – What did you think of the 2 albums he did with Ozzy?
K – I thought they were produced badly, I didn’t think they sounded good [I still don’t]. I think the guitar playing was great. I think some of the songwriting’s very cool.

Q – What did you think of that original line-up with Bob & Lee?
K – It was good. I think that Bob’s a great bass player, a really inventive songwriter, and Lee is a great basher drummer and plays what’s right for the songs. That was the band to me.

Q – Are you familiar with Bob & Lee’s stuff with Uriah Heep?
K – I know Lee’s still with Uriah Heep. I saw Uriah Heep a million times. I got to meet Lee and Trevor Bolder. When Metal Health came out in 1983, we were in France and the French record label took us out to dinner and Heep was playing the same city. And Trevor Bolder was a HUGE hero of all of our’s, being with Bowie, and he was in Uriah Heep. So, we took Lee, Bob and Mick Box out to dinner with the French label. And, it was great! I saw Uriah Heep open for Deep Purple in like 1971 and they blew Deep Purple off the stage! So, we loved the guys. And Randy Rhoads adored Lee! He thought he was the greatest guy. And he’s the one who told me Lee wrote all the vocal melodies that Ozzy sang. I’ve not met Bob Daisley in person, but I have had correspondence with him over the e-mail, he seems like a really nice guy.

Q – Do you have any favorite old Heep songs?
K – We almost did one for this [solo] album. We were going to do ‘Tears In My Eyes’, but when I went to sing it, it really wasn’t in the register for me. I really wanted to do ‘Stealin’, but Mike Varney wouldn’t let me do it; he thought it was too down tempo. So, I’ll do it the next time.
I was a huge Uriah Heep fan. I loved all the bass players – Mark Clarke, Gary Thain…

Q – Yes, Mark Clarke went on to Billy Squier and was in to a bunch of stuff…
K – He was in a band ‘Tempest’; I loved them – with Alan Holdsworth and John Hiseman. I’m a huge collector of that stuff.

Q – What are you listening to these days?
K – I just got the Jeff Beck ‘Live At BB Kings’ in the mail today [because you can only get it from the web-site]. I love that; it’s really recorded well. I love Jeff Beck. I’ve been listening to some Type O Negative. I don’t buy too many records. I don’t like much new stuff that comes out, doesn’t really interest me.

Q – Do you find yourself [like me] looking for older bands with new albums?
K – Kind of…a lot of older bands have new albums, and I don’t like their new albums. Jeff Beck’s ‘Beckola’ album with Rod Stewart, they’ve re-released it with 4 new songs on it, so I’ve got to buy that.

Q – Lately I’ve picked up a bunch of Glenn Hughes solo stuff….
K – I got all of it his solo stuff, pretty much.

Q – The one that got me back in to him was ‘Crystal Karma’.
K – I love Crystal Karma! That’s my favorite solo album; that and ‘From Now On’. Midnight Meditated, Mojo – it’s a great record! I like From Now On, The Way It Is, I love the Burning Japan : Live. He has a DVD coming out, you know. It’s a live DVD and I sang back-up on it. And I also interviewed him for it.

Q – Is there any other people from your genre that you keep in touch with?
K – No, not like Glenn. Glenn and me have a connection. We have a really common sense of humor. Frankie Banali played drums on the Hughes/Thrall album, so I knew Glenn from that. Nobody like Glenn, Glenn’s a special animal.

Q – Is there anything you have to add about the new album?
K – Check it out. It’s got the best reviews of anything I’ve done in my career.


Interview: © Kevin J. /  July 2004


Rick Benton of MAGNUM – An interview

It was just over a year ago that fans of British band Magnum woke to the post that longtime keyboard player Mark Stanway had officially left the band, while on tour in the UK. Just after a month later it was announced that Rick Benton had joined the band, and had played on the band’s last few shows. He would play live with Magnum throughout 2016 and recorded with the band the brand new album “Lost On The Road To Eternity” – which is being released early in the new year.  Thanks to Al Barrow [Magnum’s bass player], I connected with Rick and sent him my questions for this interview – some insight in to Rick’s musical styles, influences, and his experiences thus far with Magnum!


Check out more about Rick at >

and >


What bands and artists did you grow up on – ones that had a major influence on you?

I grew up in a very musical household. Both parents played piano, (my dad played in a dance band and also played organ at the local church). My brother, sister and I all started piano lessons at a very early age and so music was always around us. We listened to a wide variety of genres, anything from Bach to the Beatles, Beethoven to Black Sabbath, Rachmaninoff to Rush! I was also very lucky at school to have a music teacher who was passionate about all styles of music, I remember we had a school orchestra, choir, jazz band and pop bands so we had the chance to ‘dip in’ to everything musical. I started ‘gigging’ when I was around 12 years old, meeting and playing with some great local musicians who helped me along my way. I also went to watch as many gigs as I could. I’m not sure I could accurately point to any individual influences – more a combination of all of the above to be honest.

Can you give me a ‘top 10’ of favorite albums from your early years?

Wow – very difficult question! I’ve always had a very diverse taste in music so this isn’t going to be an easy one to answer. For me, so many of my all-time favourite tracks are tucked away on albums that wouldn’t necessarily make this list – I’m much more of a ‘playlist’ listener than a whole album aficionado! Thinking back though, in no particular order, these are probably the albums that I listened to in their entirety most regularly (and in some cases still do!):

Peter Gabriel: So, Us Pearl Jam: 10 Rush: Moving Pictures Magnum: On a Storyteller’s Night Genesis: Genesis, Invisible Touch Toto: IV Bruce Hornsby and The Range: The Way It Is Steeley Dan: Aja Donald Fagan: The Nighfly Stevie Wonder: Inner Visions

You’ve also done theatre and teach. what music is your first love and favorite – rock, blues, theatrical?

I listen to such a wide variety of music depending on the mood I’m in – it could be jazz, classical, latin, blues…..but at the end of the day I’ve always been a bit of a rocker at heart!

Prior to joining Magnum, how familiar with the band were you? and / or any of their songs?

I remember getting ‘On a Storyteller’s Night’ when I was in my teens and loving the album – great song writing, performances and arrangements. I’ve followed the band since then so I was pretty familiar with many of their songs. I’d also met Tony on a number of occasions at Mark Stuart’s studio when he was based in Walsall. How exactly did you wind up joining Magnum? [details]

Last December I had a phone call from Mark (Magnum’s TM and Sound Engineer). We’ve known each other since the 90’s (Mark produced a number of recordings I did with The Lilac Groove and I’ve done keyboard sessions for him at his studio for a raft of artists over the years). He asked me if I was available over the following few days to join the tour for the final shows, explaining that Mark Stanway had decided the time was right for him to concentrate on other projects and had left the band. It took me about 1 second to say yes! I spent the next day scoring out the set from live video clips and recordings then joined up with the guys at the Wolverhampton gig and then travelled with them to do the last show in Edinburgh.

You would’ve had to learn a number of tracks in a hurry !? What are some of your favorite Magnum songs to perform as a keyboard player and as a listener?

They’re all fantastic to play for different reasons – that’s one of the greatest things about Magnum – you know instantly who you are listening to, but no two songs are the same. From a keyboard players perspective, some are about fitting in to the ‘groove’ backing up the guitar rhythms, some creating a ‘mood’ or ‘scene’ through sound and others are more ‘virtuoso’ with intricate piano lines and string arrangements.
Picking favourites is tricky because it can depend on your own mood at the time of playing but I would have to say that, from the current live set, Les Morts Dansant, Twelve Men Wise and Just, All England’s Eyes and When The World Comes Down encapsulate much of what’s great about playing keys for Magnum.

Magnum has some grand keyboard intros and solos throughout the catalogue. do you approach your playing to sticking true to what’s on record or are there any alterations in the way you perform certain tracks?

That’s an interesting question as many of the songs have developed from their original recording through decades of live performances. I’ll give you one example – Les Morts Dansant. On the album version, the intro is played on a pipes sound. On live performances this has become a very recognised piano intro. From a sound and notation perspective I learnt the set from live video footage and live recordings with the aim of remaining true to what audiences have become accustomed to. Obviously there will be subtle differences in my dynamics and feel as we all play slightly differently, but for me, staying true to these well-known intros and solos is very important as they are an integral part of incredibly crafted and well loved songs.

You’ve had the chance to do some major festivals and tour with Magnum prior to the new album. what have been some of the highlights and any moments that stick out for you as a new member to the band and their audience?

The first thing that struck me and has been a constant highlight of every gig has been the obvious bond between the band and the fans. I know it’s a well used (sometimes over used!) comparison but it really does seem like one giant family. Talking to folk before and after the gigs has been great – I’ve certainly felt very ‘welcomed’. Tony, Bob, Al and Lee are all great guys to be around on and off stage and the crew are amazing – we’re certainly enjoying life on the road! Touring gigs and festivals? Take your pick – they’ve all been highlights!

How was the pre-production and recording experience for the new Magnum album? [detail your input and viewpoint of this whole process]. As Tony Clarkin writes the Magnum material, can you tell me how much freedom you had to expand on intros, solos, etc. – in the studio?

What a great experience! For me the process began with sitting with Tony and listening to the song demos he had recorded, talking through sound selections and arrangements and then starting to lay down my keyboard parts. There was plenty of encouragement and opportunity to put forward ideas as the recordings progressed (intros / solos / sound selection / arrangements etc.). Often we’d lay down several takes of a song, starting with a very basic rhythmic version and finishing with a full-on keyboard ‘notefest’. Tony would then decide which worked best for the song – on some of the tracks less was definitely more, on others the keyboards took a more prominent roll. Tony is not only an incredible musician and song writer but he is also a quite extraordinary producer – I learned so much from working under his guidance in terms of developing ideas and playing for the song – absolutely priceless!

Having not heard the album, aside from the single [Without Love – which isn’t a keyboard heavy track]. what can you tell me about some of the other songs — any favorites? any big keyboard intros and solos?

From my perspective as a fan, I would say that this is very much an unmistakable Magnum album – Tony’s incredible songwriting and selection of subject matter re-counted through Bobs dramatic vocal story-telling runs right through the heart of it. Musically there are powerful guitar riffs, sweeping melodic solo’s, incredible drum grooves, all underpinned by Al’s signature rock solid bass lines and a title track which features a symphony orchestra playing an arrangement which I defy anyone to say doesn’t send shivers down the spine! Can I choose favourites? No – they all sound amazing to me and move me emotionally in very different ways! There’s definitely a couple of times where the keyboards take a ‘nod’ and a few that they start – I’ll let the listeners decide whether these are ‘big’!

Are there any of your own performances on the new album that you are looking forward to fans hearing?

To be honest I’m really looking forward to everyone being able to hear the album in its entirety – I’m beyond proud and honoured to have been involved in its creation – I just hope that my input has been faithful to the rich musical history of Magnum.

You must be looking forward to the upcoming tour, and performing new material that you are a part of!? Has it been decided on how many and which of the new tracks will feature in the Magnum live show? [if so, how was this process achieved?]

Naturally I’m very excited about the tour – we go in to rehearsals in the new year and then we’ll be off, hoping that our bus driver doesn’t get us “Lost On The Road To Eternity’ (I should say that he’s a great driver and we’ve all got satnav apps on our phones so I’m pretty sure we’ll find all the venues!). Regarding the set, Bob is the one who generally puts the show together. It’ll undoubtedly be a mix of classics and new material….I’m afraid I’m not at liberty to say any more than that (under a threat of limb removal!!).

You’re also a part of Rebecca Downes’ band. How different is that musically and in performance?

Musically it’s quite different – in Magnum I use a wide variety of sounds between the songs ranging from orchestral strings to lead synths, brass, vintage pads, acoustic piano, electric pianos, motion synths, organs etc. For Rebecca, I predominantly use three sounds – acoustic piano, Hammond and Rhodes. Playing wise they are very different genres and therefore my actual playing style changes somewhat – for example there’s much more improvisation required in Rebecca’s set with blues solos on piano and Hammond featuring in a number of her songs. From a performance perspective, any time on any stage should be treated in the same way – get on and give it 110%!

She has signed a North American deal[!?] – might we see you with her over here in North America in the near future?

I’m not sure about the near future as touring North America is a very expensive business, but you never know – I’d love to come back at some point!

What are you listening to these days, as a music fan? [any current albums or reissues you’ve picked up?]

I try to listen to anything and everything! Although I might not personally like all that’s out there, I’m very conscious of the fact that with so much music available to listen to, there’s always a surprise to enjoy and a lesson to learn! If pushed, I’d have to admit that right now, while I’m typing this response, I’m listening to a Christmas compilation that the kids have popped on…..thank goodness it’ll be over in a week or so (musically!).


*further links:


KJJ, 12/17

Doogie White – Q & A : From the vaults (’99)

Doogie White became a name to classic / hard rock fans years back when the Scottish singer was chosen for the re-incarnated “Ritchie Blackmore’s RAINBOW”. With Rainbow, White sang on the album “Stranger In Us All”, which was well received by long time Rainbow / Blackmore fans. He also toured the globe with Blackmore’s Rainbow, before Blackmore decided to move on to other projects and split up his latest version of Rainbow, leaving Doogie White to look for a new gig. Prior to Rainbow, White had sang in the UK band Midnight Blue, and appeared on 2 English Steel albums [produced by Lea Hart], which featured a number of other British rock veterans.  I swapped notes with Dougie about a few things, and he answered my questions here. The man reveals some interesting info about his past, his time with Rainbow, and his current happenings!

*Since this interview, originally posted in October of ’99,  Doogie White has become one of the best and hardest working singers out there. White has recorded numerous albums with numerous acts. I am way behind, loved the Praying Mantis album he did way back, but after more recently getting the 2 Demon’s Eye albums he did in 2011 & 2015, and lately picking up the Michael Schenker Group albums he’s on, I am keen to get caught up [currently watching a live show on youtube with Tank!] .

anyway, for more info check out [this site needs updating], or look Doogie up on facebook!
Q) First album you ever bought?
D) Warner Bros. Music Show, with the Doobies, Little Feat, Montrose
Q) Favorite bands, musos, singers in your early days?
D) David Bowie, Roy Wood, Tom Jones, The Monkees, The Beatles
Q) What was-your first pro band? [when did you get into it full-time?]
D) Strangely it was Midnight Blue in ’88. Although I was in La Paz for 4 years but it was semi pro. We released 2 cassette albums.
Q) Did any of these bands feature anyone else of significance in later years?
D) MB’s guitarist went on to play with GUN, Bruce Dickinson and currently guitarist with pop sensation Robbie Williams. MB’s keyboard player Jem Davis – played with UFO and FM. The La Paz Boys took the other road and made millions in computers property and mining.
Q) What kind of music was Midnight Blue? any album releases?
D) 80`s AOR but a bit heavier than most.
Q) Any band comparisons?
D) We released “Take The Money And Run ” on Zero in Japan. Not really I didn’t listen to AOR so I couldn’t say. Alex liked Jake E Lee, so maybe it was like that.

Q) Midnight Blue did some gigs with Uriah Heep back in 89 or 90, what do you recall of these? any good stories??
D) I had a question that I’d always wanted to ask and when the opportunity to do so arose I did. It went something like this…….. “Trevor can I ask you a question?” He sighed as he thought he knew what was coming , another BOWIE question perhaps. “How come you’re credited for singing the last song on Conquest when it is clearly JS. He brightened up at that and told me why.  [RIP TB]
Q) You were also involved in the English Steel projects — what was this all about?
D) It was British Steel and was an album released by Metal Hammer in 89/90 to promote British bands to a wider audience. Magazines have done this for years.
Q) [I attached a section from my Sloman discography about the English Steel albums]. If it ain’t the same thing, what did you do on this?
D) AHHH so this is where they went… Gotcha’ya, Lea Hart! Well I did some stuff for Lea and he does have a reputation for making up compilation albums so this is probably one of those. I don’t have it, I only had a crackly demo of the songs I sang.
Q) Familiar with the “Metal Christmas” project which includes many of the same names as on English Steel albums?
D) Yes, my Mate Andy Barnett plays guitar on this
Q) What else had you been involved with during the 90s prior to Rainbow?
D) After MB imploded, for whatever reason – I did a lot of session singing for various Publishing houses, singing songs written for artists like Cher, Tom Jones, Paul Carrick to name a few. Also I got involved with several writers whose demos I sang. I did an album with some friends under the name of Chain. Heavier rock than usual.
Q) Any releases? [any info, label….]
D) The Chain album is on JVC Victor in Japan and is called “Eros of Love and Destruction”. I liked it though it was just demos.

Q) You auditioned for Iron Maiden when Bruce left!?
D) Yes, 2 times
Q) What happened with that?
D) I was first in and last in. I sang 20 songs over an afternoon with them. I got a better appreciation for them and Bruce after that; it was hard work. I would have really loved to be in Maiden but then I couldn’t have been in Rainbow and that was where I had wanted to be since I was 15. Obviously they gave the gig to Blaze.

Q) How did you come to work with Rainbow?
D) I had given a tape to Colin Hart Purple’s tour manager when JLT was singing for them, when Ritchie left he called me and asked if I’d come to NY and sing for him.
Q) Audition?
D) 5 days worth
Q) Who else auditioned when you did?
D) No one, I was the only choice

Q) Did you feel any pressure following in the footsteps as such great singers as RJ Dio, Graham Bonnet, and Joe Lynn Turner??
D) Not pressure as such but, I knew as a fan what I’d have wanted in the new Rainbow singer and strived to deliver that.
Q) How do you feel your vocals and contributions to Rainbow compared to theirs?
D) That’s not for me to say, others will judge me. I was pleased with my input as was Ritchie and I have to say the fans were very generous in their reviews and appraisals.
Q) How were songs written between yourself and Ritchie?
D) He jammed the music I jammed the melodies and lyrics and wallah… a song.

Q) How much input did the various members have in Rainbow compared to how much it Ritchie controlled / lead ?
D) It was Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow – he made the decisions. At times he was open to suggestions, and if I felt strongly about something I’d speak up. But he has been at the top of the tree for a long time so he does have a fairly good idea of what is what even if sometimes his decisions seem off the wall
Q) How was Ritchie [in your view] working with?
D) *I loved the man and his music, it was not difficult for me until outside forces wanted a career and influenced him, then he would pull me up on the most trivial things. It got irritating to be scolded like a naughty boy

Q) What were some of your fave tracks from the “Strangers…” album?
D) I have good feeling about them all.
Q) Any stand out? Any stories?
D) We wrote “Hunting Humans” in 45 minutes, it was just so fast where “Silence” was like pulling teeth we had so many ideas for that one. “Black Mask” was another that went through changes I was happy with the way it came out. “Ariel” was great although I had only input into how the vocals should be as it was a folk song Candy and Ritchie had written for their own thang. Personally I’d would have liked a more free reign lyric – wise but Ritchie wanted lyrics that “girls would like”, I felt intimidated and gave in. When Ritchie was awake we all had to be awake and he chucked A meat cleaver at my door to waken me…. and then a tin of cat food, then corn flakes. It was a splendid time and I took it all with good humor.

Q) How well was the band received live?
D) Very well, I had a blast every night We picked up lots of fan voted awards in Japan , Germany, South America.
Q) What stuff did you enjoy doing the most?
D) Easier to say what I didn’t enjoy. I didn’t see the point in “smoke on the water” its been done to death that’s why I gave the mic. To the crowd to sing it.
Q) Did you guys get any flack from ‘Purple nuts?
D) No flack at all that I heard except in Brazil when a Dio nut was giving me grief from the front of the stage, I demanded his DIO shirt and wore it for the rest of the show, sang a bit of ELF and gave him a beer.

Q) Why did the band ‘break up’?
D) It a long story, let’s just say Ritchie wanted to do other things
Q) Do you still have contact with Ritchie?
D) Not directly.
Q) What do you think of his current stuff
D) I enjoyed the first record a lot.
Q) and would you / could you foresee another Rainbow project in the future with yourself involved?
D) Lovely thought but unlikely, he has to dominate people and make them bow to his will. I stopped that in Denmark in 96, it was never the same again :-))
Q) I’m curious……………
D) Violence is never an option…..
Q) What have you been doing since the Rainbow gig?
D) I start recording my first solo record in January. I’ve done few different things Brazen Abbot “Nostradamous”, and Tributes to.. Maiden, ZZ Top, Whitesnake. Plus Steen Mogenson from Royal Hunt. Backing vocals on 2 country records, A Rover car commercial. Other stuff I can’t recall.
Q) Any tracks you’ve done yet on the tributes?
D) Maiden > “Hallowed Be Thy Name”, “The Evil That Men Do”. ZZ Top > “Tush”, “Planet Of Women”; ‘Snake > “Slow And Easy”, “Judgment Day”, and “Crying In The Rain”.

Q) Favorite rock albums of all time?
D) Made in Japan [DP], Aladdinsane [Bowie].
Q) Do anything outside of music?
D) I drink beer and drive mini coopers – not at the same time you understand.
Q) You have cited John Sloman as a favorite singer / influence. What is it about his voice / style that you appreciate as a singer yourself?
D) He is unique and has edges to his voice that you either love or hate, I have enjoyed him since his Lone Star days. He can do things, runs vocally no one before or since has managed to do. I nicked loads from this man.
Q) What do you think of Heep’s other singers > David Byron, John Lawton, Peter Goalby, and Bernie Shaw?
D) As with all things the original is considered the best and so it is with Byron. I’ve never heard John Lawton but I recently met him and his lovely wife and he was charming. Goalby sang on my favorite Heep album – Abominog, and I saw him twice. Bernie is the complete pro and taught me quite a bit I’ll always be grateful to him for taking this off the wall Scottish maniac and calming him down on that Heep tour.


*added reading :


Interview, KJJ, Oct ’99.


Uriah Heep – In Canada, 2018!

It’s been since the fall of 1993 when I last saw Uriah Heep in Ontario, tho they played some shows in western Canada the following year, and 2 shows in British Columbia in 2001. At the time the band had yet to sign a new record deal, 1995’s brilliant Sea Of Light album was still a dream away, their last album – Different World suffered on a small label, and did not get a release over here [til mid 90s in the US, on Griffin Records] and the latest UH related release was The Lansdowne Tapes, and Ken Hensley’s From Time To Time. The first round of remastered CDs had not been conceived yet. Back then the band was part of the Total Recall Tour, with Nazareth, Blue Oyster Cult, and Wishbone Ash. They played a 45 minute set of material pre 1976, as well as 1 ‘new’ song – Words In The Distance.

The band’s 6 shows in February of 2018 are long overdue. On their last tour of the US, I attended a show in Akron, Ohio [about 5 hrs drive], as did a number of other fans from Toronto and the Niagara areas. Someone asked singer Bernie Shaw [after the show] why the band hadn’t come north of the border, and he replied ‘they couldn’t get arrested in Canada!’. huh!… Bernie’s Canadian btw. Regardless the band is finally coming here.
*Updated North American Tour dates for 2018:
heep 2018

They’re also recording a new album titled “Living The Dream” early in the new year, to be released next September.
It’s been over 3 years since the band’s last album – Outsider, and during the time the band has toured extensively, including a number of songs from that album in their live show.
Mick Box & Bernie Shaw have also been part of the Rock Meets Classic Tour in Europe [a few singers and players from various bands, performing with a full orchestra]. And most recently Phil Lanzon has released his first solo album – “If You Think I’m Crazy”.
Shaw also appears on Alan Simon’s Excalibur IV project –

So far 6 Canadian shows have been announced [hopefully more to come]
February :
06 & 08 – Ottawa, Ontario – Brass Monkey 
09 – Quebec City, Palais Montcalm
10 – Montreal, PQ – Corona Theatre
11 – London, Ontario – London Music Hall
12 – Toronto, Ontario – Phoenix Concert Theater [sold out]
and although not in Canada –
March 02 – Westland, Michigan – The Token Lounge [about an hour from Windsor, Ontario]

Heep’s Canadian Connections

*Singer Bernie Shaw is from British Columbia, and moved to the UK in the late 70s to pursue his musical career. He debuted on the first Grand Prix LP [along with Phil Lanzon], and went on to record with Praying Mantis [Stratus] . He joined Heep at the end of 1986, and has been there ever since. He also recorded a few tracks with Canadian guitarist Dale Collins, while on vacay in Canada in 1997, which was released as the “Picking Locks” EP [CD]

*Prior to Shaw though, the band had another Canadian in the ranks. Keyboard player Gregg Dechert had been in a London, Ontario based band named Pulsar, along with a Welsh singer named John Sloman. When that band broke up and Sloman had to return to the UK, he joined Uriah Heep. Following an album and UK / European tour, Dechert was flown over to audition for and replace Ken Hensley. Dechert’s time in the band was long enough to record an album’s worth of material – which never got released, as well as play on the single “Think It Over”, and do a UK tour. His time in Heep would lead to being part of David Gilmour’s 1984 solo band, as well as a few other projects, and a brief stint in Bad Company.

He would also be apart of the Heepsteria tribute project years later, with the late Rob Seagrove, covering “July Morning”.

*When Ken Hensley left Heep, he formed Shotgun [who did 1 UK tour], and the guitarist was Canadian Derek O’Neil, from Ottawa – who had previously been in the band Fury [whom supported Heep on their 1977 UK tour]. He also was part of Blazer Blazer, who had a single in the UK – “Cecil Be Devine”. Iron Maiden would cover a song he co-wrote as part of the Marshall-Fury Band – “Juanita”. He later relocated to California, and sadly passed away in 2007.

*For the last several years Mick Box has been using and endorsing guitars by Toronto based company Carparelli Guitars.

Looking forward to the 2018!

KJJ, 11/17


BLUE OYSTER CULT : Classics – without the cowbell!


‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’ was Blue Oyster Cult’s first and biggest hit in 1976, after 3 albums. The song became etched in American pop culture in 2000 when a skit was made of it on Saturday Night Live with Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken; having fun with the recording of the cowbell [which in turn inspired the song “More Cowbell” by Blue Coupe!]. BOC fans know the band was one of the best from the US in the ‘70s, originally signed by Columbia in hopes to be a response to the heavy bands on Warner Bros at the time – mainly Black Sabbath, but BOC were never simply a heavy ‘metal’ band, loads of variety, rockers, ballads, with 5 guys that all wrote and could sing lead. They had their own themes and stories in the songs and albums [see my interview with Albert Bouchard], a cool symbol [an idea taken on…

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