Thursday, September 20, 2007

2007 - OMD (Orchestral Manouvres in the Dark)





The Original line - up performed their full classic album "Architecture and Morality" as well as all their classic hits in front of a full house at Dublin's famous Olympia Theatre on May 13th 2007. Apart from a few technical problems the show was superb.

OMD ***
See also: Interview Paul Humphreys 2006

2006 - Interview Karl Bartos (EX-Kraftwerk) GERMAN language



Karl Bartos Interview 18.01.2006

Karl Bartos:

Hallo

TJ:

Schönen Guten Tag, Near FM hier aus Dublin. Ist das Karl?

KB:

Am Apparat

TJ:

Hallo, Grüsse dich. Vielen Dank für die ermöglichung des Interviews

KB:

Ja, gerne.

TJ:

Dann legen wir mal los. Die erste Frage die ich hätte ist: Du hast Kraftwerk 1991 verlassen und möchtest diese Zeit wahrscheinlich auch hinter dir lassen

KB:

Die ist schon hinter uns.

TJ:

Ich nehme jetzt einfach mal an, dass die Leute sicherlich versuchen, dich immer wieder auf Kraftwerk anzusprechen.

KB:

Sie versuchen es, ich antworte aber nicht.

TJ:

Dann werde ich auch gar nicht darüber reden. Eine Frage hätte ich aber dann doch: Du hast „Das Modell“ geschrieben?

KB:

Mitgeschrieben, wir waren drei Autoren. Der Text war zuerst da und die Musik hab ich mit Ralf (Hütter, respektively) zusammen gemacht.

TJ:

Wie ist das wenn das dann so los geht und zu einem Riesen Kult Hit überall wird? Kannst du das Gefühl beschreiben das man hat, wenn man zum ersten Mal begeift, dass seine Musik einen Unterschied macht?

KB:

Ach, das ist so ähnlich wie mit dem älter werden. Man wundert sich bei jedem Geburtstag, dass jetzt noch ein weiteres Jahr dazu kommt aber es ist ja ein kontinuierlicher Prozess und „Das Modell“ ist glaube ich von 1977 und jetzt ist 2006. Das passiert dann so im laufe der vielen Jahre und der Jahrzehnte, das wird dann ein sogenannter „Evergreen“ und es gibt, ich weiss gar nicht wie viele Coverversionen.

Neulich habe ich in Paris ein DJ – Set gespielt und dort habe ich „Das Modell“ von den Cardigans gespielt, in deutsch gesungen. Das klingt unheimlich süß und viele machen das einfach halt auch als ...

TJ:

Tribut

KB: ja und als Spass irgendwie. Mit Coldplay das ist natürlich eine andere Sache. Die hatten vorher gefragt, ob sie „Computerliebe“ aufnehmen dürfen und wir haben das gestattet und das heisst jetzt bei denen „Talk“.

TJ:

Der ganze Gitarrenriff ist eure Melodie.

KB:

Ja, ja, das ist eine sogenannte „Bearbeitung“ und da muss man halt vorher um Erlaubnis fragen.

TJ:

Da seid ihr aber relativ offen?

KB:

Kommt darauf an. Also, es kommt darauf an, wer fragt und wie und auf die Situation gerade. Was heisst „offen“, klar.

TJ:

Ich meinte jetzt, dass Coldplay ja nun eine Band ist, die sehr bekannt ist. Wie sieht es aus mit kleineren Künstlern? Haben die eine Chance?

KB:

Ja, auf jeden Fall. Es gab mal so ein Tribute, das fanden wir alle sehr nett, da hat das jemand aufgenommen der hiess: „Senior Coconut“. Und zwar war das alles so aufgenommen, ich glaube zwei LPs hat der gemacht, der Künstler, so aufgenommen als würde das eine Südamerikanische Band spielen, live einspielen. Das war also ...

TJ:

Frischer Wind

KB:

Ja, interessant..

TJ:

Jetzt mal zur elektronischen Musik – auf deinem „Communication“ Album singst du auch über „15 minutes of fame“. Der ganze Musikbusiness hat sich komplett geändert. Wie schwierig ist es denn, obwohl du ja ein sehr etablierter Künstler bist, wie schwierig ist es denn mit elektronischer Musik heutzutage als Künstler zu überleben?

KB:

Also im „Wire“ – Magazin stand neulich mal ein sehr interessanter Bericht über Musik und wie sich das verändert hat. Und zwar hat der Autor gesagt: „Musik hat sich von einem Substantiv zu einem Verb entwickelt und ein Verb kann man einfach nicht mehr verkaufen.“

Und so ist es auch. So sehe ich das auch ähnlich. Früher war Musik eben etwas, was Image transportiert hat und heutzutage werden die Titel nicht mal mehr im Ipod angezeigt, die Titelnamen. Das ist eine ganz anonyme Datenmenge im binärischen Code und das ist es dann.

Musik transportiert sich heutzutage über die Medien, sprich: das Fernsehen und was dort funktioniert, das soll eigentlich gekauft werden, nur, zum Unterschied zu früher ist das heute mit einer Nummer Eins ... mit einer Nummer Eins single kann man überhaupt kein Geld mehr verdienen. Man kann mit Musik kein Geld mehr verdienen, es sei denn man gibt live Konzerte. Und da ist Musik eigentlich wieder dort, wo es vor 1877 war, vor Edison, bevor Edison die Musik von Zeit und Raum trennte.

TJ:

Und aufnehmen konnte.

KB:

Und aufnehmen konnte. Und da ist die Musik jetzt und da ist die Rezeption der Musik und die Wertschätzung der Musik eigentlich heute wieder angekommen. In der Aufzeichnung von Musik ist eine Geringschätzung heutzutage eher der Fall.

TJ:

Was ja eigentlich sehr schade ist. Mein Sohn ist 14 und fängt jetzt an Musik zu hören und zu begreifen, dass er die Erinnerungen die er da kriegt, mitnehmen kann.

KB:

Ja natürlich.

TJ:

Er kauft sich jede Woche eine andere CD während ich früher noch 2, manchmal 5 Jahre auf ein neues Album meines Lieblingskünstlers gewartet habe. Das ist halt das andere Ding, ich weiss nicht, ob ihr Statistiken habt, aber die jüngere Generation, ich meine eure Platten, zumindest die Kraftwerk Platten werden überall gekauft, immer noch ..

KB:

Ja, wir sind da in einer Ausnahmesituation, da bin ich auch sehr dankbar, wie man sich vorstellen kann, aber ich spreche im allgemeinen über Musik. Wenn ich heutzutage eine neue Platte mache, wie „Communication“ oder so, dann profitiere ioch natürlich auch von dieser Reputation, diesem Ruf und meine Konzerte laufen eigentlich auch ganz gut und da verdiene ich das Geld.

Wenn ich ne Platte mache, selbst wenn ich ausführlich daran arbeite und die von Sony weltweit in 20 Territories vertrieben wird, das ist ein Witz was man da, also da kann man nicht von Leben. Da kann man kein Geld mehr mit verdienen. Aber bei einem Konzert ist das nach wie vor gegeben und ich weiss ehrlich gesagt nicht, ob ich darüber traurig sein soll.

TJ:

Es ist natürlich für neuere ...

KB:

Für neue Künstler gilt im Prinzip das gleiche: Es war eine ganz harte Nummer als vor 5 Jahren oder so die gesammte Record Industry zusammengebrochen ist. Das war Superhart und alle haben sich gefragt: „ Wo kommt denn das plötzlich her?“ und das lässt sich nur begründen, ich möchte das jetzt hier nicht näher ausführen, durch viele Faktoren, in der Vermarktung, die Plattenfirmen sind eigentlich selber Schuld, haben vorher die grossen Profite gemacht in den 80er Jahren durch die CD, als sie quasi die gesammt Weltmusik noch einmal neu verkauft haben.

Und jetzt geht eben nichts mehr. Und ich denke, die Chance die darin liegt ist eben nicht zuletzt auch eine Chance für die ganzen neuen Künstler. Ich meine, jeder Künstler ist ja irgendwann mal neu und muss mit den Gegebenheiten, mit den kulturellen Gegebenheiten und den Marktspezifischen Gegebenheiten der Jetzt-Zeit operieren. Und die jetzt eben in dieses Internet – Zeitalter herein wachsen, die können sich eben auch ganz anders präsentieren, als wir das konnten.

TJ: Das galube ich.

KB:

Bei uns gab es früher überhaupt keine Möglichkeiten; da gab es eine Fernsehsendung, wir haben Musikvideos gemacht und Filme noch auf 35mm, da gab es überhaupt keinen Marktplatz für.

Da gab es den „Beat Club“ und sonst nichts. Vielleicht noch „Aspekte“, eine Kultursendung. Da konnte man hingehen und live spielen und dann gab es den „Melody Maker“ und den „Musical Express“ – Ende!

TJ:

Wahnsinn

KB:

Das waren die Möglichkeiten der Promotion – und man konnte live spielen. Heutzutage geht man in „Myspace“ ins Internet und hat sofort ein Millionenpublikum.

TJ:

Stimmt, ja.

KB:

Die Spielregeln sind heute anders. Und eine junge Band hat heute auch unglaubliche Möglichkeiten der Vermarktung; die können mit einer CD nicht mehr 100 000 Stück verkaufen oder 200 000 oder 250, die Gewinnspanne ist extrem gering geworden. Niemand gibt mehr einer jungen Band einen Plattendeal aber das ist ja auch Scheissegal, weil sie haben das Internet zur Verfügung und können sich selbst vermarkten was dann letztlich dazu führt, dass sie viel mehr Geld verdienen.

TJ:

Reicht es denn wenn eine Band auftritt und sagt o.k., wir sind im Netz, oder ist es hilfreich wenn eine Band trotzdem halt sagt, wir nehmen eine CD auf? Die Preise sind ja heute nicht mehr so teuer heute in Studios um CDs zu machen.

KB:

Ne, ne, das macht man doch selber heutzutage am Computer.

TJ:

Ich meinte auch eher so das Artwork.

KB:

Alles macht man selber – die Bands, die früher nur aus Musikern bestanden, die sind history. Die Band der Zukunft die wird bestehen aus einem Musiker, einem Graphiker oder sagen wir mal so, jemand der Audio-Visuell arbeitet. Die Bands werden audiovisuell werden.

TJ:

Gerade weil wir von Bands sprachen: Audiovision!

KB:
Das ist mein Label.

TJ:

Da stand auch irgendwas hier auf deiner Website, dass sich deine 3 Mann Band „Audiovision“ nennt, oder?

KB:

Ich firmiere jetzt unter Karl Bartos weil, ich hatte früher auch eine Band die hiess „Electric Music“ aber Karl Bartos ist eigentlich viel bekannter als irgenwie ein Bandname den ich jetzt in die Welt setzen würde. Das kann ich einfach nicht mehr toppen. Es gibt irgendwie eine halbe Millionen Einträge im Internet und wenn ich jetzt eine neue Band ins Leben rufe, dann habe ich vielleicht nur zwei, weisst du, und das ist einfach nur eine Vermarktungsangelegenheit.

Ich würde gerne nicht unter meinem Namen firmieren weil das ist immer komisch, wenn auf jedem Flightcase dann „Karl Bartos“ steht und überall und „mit welcher Band spielt er denn hier? Ja, mit Karl Bartos“ sagen die dann und irgendwie ist das nicht so supercool, aber ich kann es nun mal nicht ändern.

TJ:

Du bist halt auch in der glücklichen Position, dass dein Name Gewicht hat

KB:

Der hat nicht so viel Gewicht wie Paul McCartney aber ...

TJ:

Also ich höre Kraftwerk seit den 70ern. Ich bin 67 geboren.

KB:

Aha

TJ:

Und ich bin gross geworden mit euch, mache selbst elektronische Musik.

KB:

Bist du selber Musiker, Thomas?

TJ:

Ich bin selber Musiker, ja. Habe meine eigene Website natürlich und neun Alben die super gefloppt sind (lach)

KB:

Da musste noch eine neue machen.

TJ:

Ja, das ist der Plan. Ich bin gross geworden mit Kraftwerk und das einzige was ich halt hier so merke mit meinen Irischen und Englischen Kollegen ist, das die einfach nur Probleme haben, die Namen auszusprechen, das ist so deren Problem. David Bowie geht halt leichter von der Zunge als beispielsweise Karl Bartos oder Thomas Janak.

KB:

Karl Bartoos sagen die immer. Ich war neulich in Birmingham.

TJ:

Ja, das habe ich gelesen. Und an dem Wocheneende als du in Birmingham warst, ich habe das auch erst zwei Tage vor dem Gig gelesen, und wir hatten schon Tickets gebucht für Alice Cooper .

KB:

(amüsiert sich)

TJ:

Ja, ich weiss, was für ein Vergleich und ich konnte meine Freundin nicht mehr dazu bewegen umzuschwänken, zumal wir ja bereits Kraftwerk gesehen hatten.

KB:

Wir sind aber nicht Kraftwerk

TJ:

Ich weiss (lacht) das ist auch sowas. Sie ist aus dem Osten der Republik und hatte noch nie von euch gehört. Und normalerweise singst du halt lieder irgendwie und Kraftwerk das ist mehr so ein Gefühl ... „boing, boom, tschak“

KB:

Ein Konzept.

TJ:

Ja, ein Konzept. Ich habe ihr also „Boing, Boom, Tschak“ vorgesungen und sie hat mich nur angekuckt. Sie kannte die ganzen anderen Sachen wie „Autobahn“ und so.

KB:

„Das Modell“ kannte sie nicht?!

TJ:

Sie kannte „das Modell“, wusste aber nicht, ob es eure Version war.

KB:

War wahrscheinlich „Rammstein“. Wir spielen dieses Jahr auch wieder in London.

The original is 45 minutes long and for editorial reasons had to be cut short here

See also:
Kraftwerk 1991
Kraftwerk 2004

2006 - "Hello young lovers" - an Interview with the SPARKS



On Thursday, the 23rd March 2006 I talked to Ron and Russell Mael better known as The Sparks. I was in Dublin and they were in L.A. – but separated somehow, therefore they set up a conference call and rang NEAR FM at 6p.m. on the dot.

TJ: “Hello young lovers” is the title of your new album?

(Pause)

TJ: Isn´t it??

Ron and Russell: “Yes, it is (laughter)

Ron: What a sharp question

TJ: You thought I address you as “hello young lovers”, weren´t you? (laughs). Your new album sounded quite different to your big hit, well, I am from Germany, just to say that, so the biggest hit I ever heard from you is: “When do I get to sing ´my way´” which was a few years ago and now I have your latest single “Perfume” in front of me and that sounds very different. In fact, you always have been quite different. How come?

Ron: I suppose if you are coming from the perspective of knowing “When do I get to sing my way” so well then probably “Hello young lovers” is even more of a shift in direction than someone who is been coming from , kind of following every little nuance what Sparks has been up to and with a song like “When do I …” it was a really precisely crafted song with a really great chorus that kicks in and in a certain way really traditiona,l even though I think it is a really great song and the lyrics are also really special to that song, but where “Hello young lovers” really differs from that is that it is the 20th album and we wanted to try to come up with a way of not working in the traditional ways in which he have worked in the past and not kind of rehashing a certain convention that are being around in pop music for so long and we try to kind of challenge ourselfs with something really different structurally, lyrically and instrumentation wise as well to just see how far we can kind of push things but then still be accessible as well.

TJ: You have just completed a little tour in the UK. How was the new album perceived over there?

Ron: It was really fantastic. The reception was just really amazing everywhere we went. We are doing the first half of the show just the new album in its entirety from the first song to the last and we´re doing it with a really stylised projection presentation which is really visual and theatrical but it is also demanding in a certain way on an audience especially that isn´t familiar yet with the new album as the album has just come out. It was a challenge in a certain way but audiences just everywhere were so enthusiastic and receptive to something that was this special and we´re really encouraged because it keeps our faith in the public that they really do exactly want to hear something that’s kind of …

TJ: … different. You have been around since the mid 70s really, isn´t it? “This town is not big enough for the two of us” – when was that?

Ron and Russell: Ehm, that was 1974.

TJ: 1974 – my god, I was seven back then

Russell: So were we

TJ: (laughs) alright. You are around for quite a while. I was talking to Karl Bartos a few weeks ago, you know him from Kraftwerk, and he was telling me that in Germany the whole musc has changed and I was talking to him about him living in the UK and he said that this really is his country and that people are more aware of his music than anywhere else. Now you, according to your biography, basically also tried your luck in England and that´s where your first success was. Is that true or is that just something that somebody wrote about you?

Russell: That´s true. We had had two albums done in the States and nothing had happened and then we got an offer to come to England from our English record company “Island” and it had always been our dream because we always idolised English bands and not American bands at all. The reception to what we were doing was incredible. There is just something about the English except of kind of having a real strong identity with pop music, it is kind of their number one industry, and there is kinda not a whole lot of other things to do so England is kind of been strong to us through the years even though others country have gone for one song or another but our consistency has been strong there. The English were kind of accepting what we were doing.

TJ: But your are also touring in the States nowadays. So you are well known in your own, huge country. Is the audience different?

Ron: No, we are finding that everywhere we go the audiences now have become really consistent. We just got back from playing two nights in Moscow in Russia and we had that same question on our own minds “would the audience be different?” They are even towards Sparks and the audience was absolutely amazing and so we´re finding that everywhere we go pop audiences, at least for Sparks, from our experience are really consistent everywhere. And really well versed in most of the albums that we have and the reaction everywhere you go is pretty similar. We´re told the same thing in Japan, “well, don´t expect them to be, well, they´ll like you but don´t expect them to be overly responsive and vocal in there reception to you” and when we got there it was just as wild as any other country we played at.

TJ: I´ve heard that actually quite often. I´ve been checking one of those old videos from KISS, you know the hard rock band KISS with the make up on and all that …

Ron: Yeah

TJ: They have been told the same thing and then when they played Tokyo, Tokyo decided that now is the time to celebrate Rock and Roll. Apart from the asian looking population you couldn´t see them differ from any other country.

Russell: There is so many different national differences but when it comes to popular music it seems that there is a pretty consistent reaction to what´s being done. We just played in Russia and we had the same thing. We were warned that maybe the Russian people, not having a strong familiarity with what we´re doing or whatever it was, that the raction wouldn´t be great but it was exactly the same as anywhere else that we played.

TJ: Let´s just imagine: If this would all end today and nobody would be interested in the Sparks anymore and all that. I mean, you have achieved so much but at the end of the day you are artists and it doesn’t really wear off. You always will do something artistically. If you couldn’t do your music is there anything you would like to do?

Ron: Well, I don’t know so much about not doing music but maybe it would be channeling the music in other kind of ways. We are really interested in doing a movie musical, so, we are just interested in what you said being creative and artistic in some kind of form, so if it wasn’t doing Sparks then I am sure we would be channeling it in some other way, wether it would be in film or making our own film or writing for theatrical performances that sort of thing. I don’t think you lose that kind of ambition and start becoming a shoe salesmen all of a sudden.

TJ: When you do electronic music it is all about melody. Being a musician myself I see it as being a craft but some people tend to think that you´re just a knob-twister and that everybody who does something electronically can´t play at all. Does that bother you that people put people into a niche and has it happened that people genuinely think that you are just knob twisters and that you are just one of those bands that does noise?

Ron: I think if someone just bothers to listen to the new album they can see what the real story is. There is a lot of musical ability and capability in that album …

Russell: The reason why we did this new album is really as a reaction against all those people that were kind of making electronic sound like one long song and, you know, we loved those kind of thing with all the dance music and that kind of thing but when an area becomes so clicheted then it is time to move on. We wanted to get a 180 degrees away from electronic music because there are so many people that aren´t very good at it but doing in that it kind of gave the whole thing a bad name and we wanted to do something that nobody else could do and try to do something that is musically more adventurious. When we were doing electronic music, even though we were able to do a lot of different styles, and because we really loved that kind of sound but there are limitations as far as uniformity of sound goes and so it was time for us to move on.

TJ: You are a very established act so I guess you have way more freedom than a new band would have but have you ever been put under pressure from the record company? Did they expect you to sound like you sounded when you sold a lot of records? You know, when I was talking to Karl Bartos he told me that after the smash hit with “The model”, they wanted them to always sound like that …

Ron: We never had anyone really tell us what to do and in addition to the comment that you made prior to that: New bands have a 100% freedom to do whatever they wanna do, too. The sad thing is that they choose not to in most cases or they´re incapable of trying stuff that is really bold so I don’t really agree that a younger band has restrictions placed on them because when you´re first starting out that is the time when you should be doing your most adventurous stuff. I think that everybody in pop music in a certain way is given that freedom. And Karl Bartos to whom you obviously talked to, well, they didn’t follow anyones advice anyway.

TJ: Yeah, I have to say, you know, I´ve been living here in Ireland for 5 ½ years but I grew up with Kraftwerk music and when I talked to Karl I found him to be a very nice guy and what he said made perfect sense. It is just that nowadays when you talk to younger people it seems that they have never listened to “real” music. When Techno started in the late 80s, early 90s it all became just one beat …

Ron: Yes, I totally agree with you that everything now is based on just what sort of came before and not even like 10 years before or 20 years before but it is being based on what has come six months before and now everyone says “We´re the new Arcade Fire, we´re the new Strokes …” and you kind of think: “Oh my god”. New people are just kind of wanting to emulate …

TJ: … this years trend …

Ron: … there isn´t a real basis musically for peoples work and having a real background in music because in the end, I think the people that do have that do pop out from the crowd if they use it wisely.

TJ: You started at a time where there wasn’t much around in opposition to nowadays. There are just so many musicians, no, hang on, I doubt it: artists maybe but not musicians … music is a craft. Do you think that this perhaps is the reason why you kept going for so long?

Ron: Well, I think that is the reason why our stuff, or maybe why he had 20 albums because the stuff is, well, there is something special on it and that people do recognise that and even though we havent had the massive successes like U2 but then I think that Sparks is doing music that is maybe more prococative in a certain way than those types of bands that have had huger success because they tend to get lazy and they use their real fire to continually challenge themselfes in what they are doing because there is no need to. They are so secure in a certain way. I think that is probably part of the reason why we´ve continued to last but not only last but do music on our 20th album that is probably more provocative and more special than anything we´ve done.

TJ: So, you reckon, you will keep going for another 10, 15 years?

Ron: (laughs) hopefully not.

TJ: Are you planning on retirering?

Ron: You know, being in pop music, you don´t think in terms of retireing. The whole thing about being in pop music is that you kind of don’t play by the normal rules that are out there and things like retirement and all of that don´t really register on our wavelength because those terms don’t mean anything.

TJ: When you said that you have never really had that massive successes, I sometmes think it depends how people measure it. I mean, your records are available in 20 odd countries. I would call that “moderately” successful.

Ron: yeah

TJ: It seems if you never had a number one it then you are not successful nowadays.
Ron: Yes, it is all relative and I think I was speaking more about commercial success but, yes, it is all relative and can all be dfined in different ways.

TJ: If somebody starts out today – is there any advise you could give to a young musician?

Russell: It seems like if somebody really has to ask then I think it is gonna be a problem for them. The thing is that it has got to be so much a part of their psyche and their drive has got ta be from themselves so if they need any kind of advise than they are already in trouble because there is so many kind of problems that come along the way and if the outside world is at all something you are considering in a strong way then I think it is a bad idea to be doing it at all. It just has to come from within you and if the drive is so strong then no matter what anybody says or recommends or what the reaction to your music is that you kind of persist. If you have to ask maybe you should persue something else.

TJ: Thank you very much, bye bye

2006 - Interview Paul Humphreys



An Interview with Paul Humphreys (Ex-and again OMD)
Interview about his ONETWO project

TJ:
So you have this new project album coming up, the OneTwo album

Paul Humphreys:
That´s correct

TJ:
When is this about to be released?

Paul:
We´re just finishing off the album now. We just have to record the last two tracks, really. We started out working independently and releasing the songs independently. In fact, we just started by releasing on the Internet to begin with. We started all that as an experiment by selling on Ebay only and quite quickly we sold a few thousand units.

TJ:
Yes, I had to order your CD there, at Ebay.

Paul:
That’s right. It just started as an experiment. Claudi* (* Claudia Brücken) and I had a few songs kicking around and then we thought “well, why don’t we just try to sell them on Ebay and see what happens” and slowly it sort of formulated into a band and now we´ve got our label, we´ve got other distribution outlets now but with the OneTwo album we´re now expanding a bit more, speaking with labels about proper distribution because rather than just the Internet although it is a very powerful tool we would also like to get it into regular shops.

TJ:
Yes, it is a bit difficult. I actually went to the extreme because I am 39 now and kind of grew up with all the music that was around in the early 1980s and OMD was one of my heroes and being from Germany I know Claudias work with Propaganda quite well, so I naturally pursuit other peoples carreers so it was a natural kind of thing to order the CD but maybe, and we have seen this in the case of Prince, he didn’t sell much after having no outlet really.

Paul:
Yes, that’s right. I mean, I was actually quite surprised by how many we could actually sell by just selling on the Internet and I think there is more of a culture now just sort of in the last year or so people are getting used to buying online. I thnk the Apple ™ I-Tunes probably helped with that to change peoples´way of thining really about buying music. My generation, you know, we used to go looking for things in obscure record shops but obscure record shops are not really around anymore so you are forced to look for obscure things on the Internet. And I do think the I-Tunes thing has breed a new sort of culture of buying music online.

TJ:
The 21st century has finally arrived. The Item Album is essentially a 6-track album

Paul:
It is an EP really, really only a sample of OneTwo.

TJ: It is basically five tracks and then you have “Sister repeated in a different version. There is one song on the album, I think it is the third song, which is co-written by Martin Gore* (*of Depeche Mode).

Paul:
It is actually the second one: “Cloud Nine”

TJ:
Alright, so this is co-written by Martin.

Paul:
That’s right. It was actually co-written by Martin and Claudia. It is a song that Claudia and Martin wrote in the mid 90s really because Claudi was doing a solo album that never saw the light of day and she was collabrating with lots of different people and Martin was one of them because she lived sort of around the corner from Martin and was sort of friends with Martin anyway. She got stuck writing a song and knocked on the door saying: “Martin, help!” …

TJ:
(Laughs) … and then this song ended up on your CD a few years later.

Paul:
Exactly.

TJ:
Did you not tour with Depeche Mode at some point in time?

Paul:
I toured with Depeche Mode in, gosh, 87 propbably it was.

TJ:
Yes, because on the “101”* Film there is a poster which says OMD as well. (*”101” is a concert/tour movie released by Depeche Mode)

Paul:
That’s right, yes, we did one of those big stadium tours of America with them and we toured for like four months. Great fun, actually. Another time we had a song called “If you leave” which was in a big movie* and was really successful in America (* the movie was called: “Pretty in pink”) and Depeche was huge there too so between the two bands we drew this enourmous crowds in big football stadiums and it was really quite strange.

TJ:
With OMD reuniting soon … when I read about that I found that to be quite interesting but with regards to your OneTwo page, I really like the approach …

Paul:
Do you?

TJ:
Yes, because when people click on your page they read: “If you are interested in music and if you are interested in the year 2001,2013 ant the 1980s – that’s your place”

Paul:
That’s right.

TJ:
And you talk about Kraftwerk and all those bands that you found interesting and that is a very “musician kind of approach”.

Paul:
Yeah, it is for like minded people to meet in a way, you know, that’s the sort of theme and it is more re-visiting OMD rather than a reunion to be honest. So far I have only just agreed doing some concerts with OMD.

TJ:
O.K., but you´d reckon, I mean, OMD is a big influence or has a big part to play when it comes to the 1980s and there is nowhere where you don’t find your name rather than what you siad when you did the Interviw in Germany last week and you said that you´ve never had a number one and people like the BBC or so are only playing number one songs and you said that you´re kind of forgotten, I read that somewhere.

Paul:
I think that’s a quote from me, actually. It is kind of true. In the UK particularly OMD seems to have been forgotten. But not in America. I have a daughter who lives in Los Angeles and I obviously go and visit her regularly and every time I am there I hear OMD on the radio but in the UK you could scan the channel everyday for a month and never here an OMD track (laughs)

TJ:
Is that something that bothers you?

Paul:
No, not really. What is annoying is when they do this historical shows and they do this historical context of electronic music and they pick a lot of electronic bands that were influential, who were influential, but will kind of leave us out because we had our little place there and we definitley influenced some bands.

TJ:
Certainly, yes. Is that the strategy behing it? I mean, I also read on the interview that you would reckon that a new OMD album would not do as well as the older ones did although you never know. I mean in the case of Duran Duran for instance, their reunion tour was … they really made it big again.

Paul:
They did

TJ:
While Tears for fears played rather smaller venues in and around the UK and Ireland so it is very hard to predict,isn´t it?





Paul:
It is really, really hard to predict. That’s why I am just sort of dipping my toe in the water and see what happens with that one because you don’t really quite know how you´re gonne be perceived.

TJ:
Yes, but you must have some kind of feeling. Is it easier, I am only guessing now but I would reckon it is a bit easier when you mention OMD as apposed to OneTwo.

Paul:
Yes, yes, I mean it can open doors for you definitely (laughs)

TJ:
Let´s assume you would do an album with OMD and maybe your are going to do an album with Andy* again (* Andy McCluskey) and Claudia is keeping herself busy doing other things with this guy,ehm, Poppy?!

Paul:
Andrew Poppy

TJ:
She keeps herself busy

Paul:
She does, she is here actually …

TJ:
Yeah, I know and I will be talking to her in a few minutes. What I am trying to say is: Does that create tension every now and then? Is there an underlined fear that OneTwo does not come into being after the, whatever you call it the OMD thingy?

Paul:
Well, I hope that’s not the case. OneTwo is my main band, you know, it is an ongoing band and it is not just a project with Claudia. It is something that we are developing and we´ve got, what we think is a really great album that we´re just finishing off. We are so happy with our record, we´re so proud of it that we want to get it out there and we want to give it as much exposure as we can.

TJ:
Will this one be available in regular shops, you´d reckon?

Paul:
That’s what we´re hoping to. We are speaking with various industry people at the moment. Like I said, we just started small with it just on the Internet and I mean we will be using the modern outlets like I-Tunes and downloads but yes we really would like to see it in conventional shops as well.





TJ:
For a regular listener, music listener, who doesn’t work in the music business, I find it very difficult sometimes to understand, I mean, when you have new musicians that aren´t aware of the business and don’t know what to do and where to go and nobody knows them, and then you have Paul Humphreys and you are still saying that you´re struggling to get a deal for your album.

Paul:
The industry has really undergone an enormous change over the last few years but definitely over the last ten years, it is unrecognisable that’s how much the industry has changed. There is really not very much money in our business anymore. The record companies have tightened their belts so much that’s why we´ve gone through a phase of a lot of manufactured music. Manufactured artists are in some ways disposable to record companies, they can easily sign a once off and manufacture their songs, market them and if it doesn’t work then they can easily discard them. A signed artist to a record label over a long period of time like a big album deal is a whole different prospect for a label and a far more expensive prospect.

They´re happen to take the cheap routes. All the routes unfortunately go down to, you know, if you trace them all back to illegal downloads really. It has really taken billions out of our business and that has to have an effect after a while.

Record companies are not going to be brave and sign unusual artists. They can´t risk half a million on an artist anymore because they don’t have that kind of disposable income so they have to do more, what they consider “sure-fire” things. But that unfortunately is usually very mainstream.

TJ:
It is really a downward spiral, isn´t it, because then we only get to hear what we get to hear. I had a recent conversation with my son who turns 14 this year and I told him that I sometimes had to wait two years for my favourite artist to bring out a new album because that’s sometimes how long it took them to make a great record.

Paul:
Yes, that’s right.

TJ:
He kind of smiled about it, you know, (laughing) I don’t actually think that he can understand the anticipation. And that’s what it is about, I mean, I am a musician as well on amuch smaller scale. I did nine CDs over the last 15 years and haven´t achieved anything significant really. For me it is always about melody. I am 39 now so it is not really realistic to think that tomorrow someone is going to knock on my door and saying: “You´re just what we needed” but on a whole it is all about melody and I think somewhere down the line that has been lost.

Paul:
I think celebriteesm has taken over. People just want to be celebrities and they don’t care how they do it. And a lot of singers in the charts they´re not that interested in being singers and writing great songs, they just want to be on the TV and be celebrities. The celbrity lifestyle, you know. Which is why a lot of singers as well as being stabbed by the industry are only doing cover versions so that they don’t have to go to the process of writing.

TJ:
Yes, and most of the time they´re just horrible. Once you know the original most of the time it is not it because the orignal very likely was produced by someone who is a musician.

Paul:
Yes, I mean, we´re talking about the mainstream and the major labels and that’s the corporate music industry. There is an independent side to our industry where people basically, artists like you and ourselves, and even younger artists they´re doing it themselves. They do some great music …

TJ:
Yes and then you have places like myspace and you swap.

Paul:
Exactly, I mean, the Internet has become … everybody is becoming their own sort of independent label and all the rules are sort of changing. Because the corprate music world is so zipped up and not open anymore for whatever the reason usually monitary reasons that the internet is now thriving with independent artists making interesting music. It is just kind of hard to find sometimes but the one advantage that Claudia and I do have is that we have names from our previous bands and people will be looking for OMD and Propaganda.

TJ:
Yes, and I am not only saying this because I am on air here, last year when I got your “Item”EP we played the “latest and the greatest” and we played “Talking loud and clear” because it si just one of my favourites …

Paul:
I always liked “Talking loud and clear”

TJ:
… the guys in the studio said: “Oh no, you have to play their biggest hit like “Joan of Arc” “ but we played “Talking loud and clear” and then “Sister” and the other presenter said to me:
“Wow, that’s great music, why is it not out there??” It was difficult to answer the question so I guessed that the industry just wants to play safe and doesn’t release it because it is perhaps a bit too 80s.

Paul:
Well, it is not necessarily that we are too 80s it is just, you know, the corporate industry now are just focusing on the younger market and they´re not taking any risks at all.

TJ:
Do you think it is getting better somewhen?

Paul:
No, it is definitely getting worse

TJ:
Aaah, I thought you´d gonna say that (both laugh)




Paul:
But the thing is, you know, things like myspace and all these kind of internet places to go to look for music are all springing up now. I just think all the rules are changing. And I think that the problem with the major labels is that they are just sort of slow moving dinosaurs they really should have seen this filesharing thing coming but they just chose not to.

TJ:
They are too protective of their own things

Paul:
Exactly

TJ:
How difficult would it be for you to ring all your old mates and do a major… maybe a mini-tour with all the so called big names because, I mean, you must have made friends over the years with megastars. Is that not something that crossed your mind to say: “Let´s try to give OneTwo a bigger platform”?

Paul:
Well, yeah, there is that option. We´ve been speaking to our agent, we do have an agent now and we will be doing a few gigs later in the year with OneTwo.

TJ:
I read about the gig in Leicester Cathedral in August

Paul:
Yes, the only date that he have confiremd up is the Leicester Cathedral one, we´re playing Leicester Cathedral on the 28th of August but we´re putting a tour together and we´d love to come to Ireland.

TJ:
That’s my hope. Over the last number of years all bands that reunited or whatever you want to call it, ehm, they all played Dublin and I think the reason is that we were really deprived of Music down here, you know, and people love them. Just a few weeks ago The Human League played at Vicar Street, a smaller venue in Dublin, and they were very, very cautious when they announced it and within a week they had to add a second date and it’s the same thing with Tears for Fears. I really think there would be a market.

Paul:
Yes, there is a good demand for the live circuit.

TJ:
The music is timeless because it is handmade, you know. You have your own style.

Paul:
That’s right, I think there is some truth in that.

TJ:
I was asking Russell from The Sparks if it bothers him that people think because they play electronic music they´re just knob-twisters.
Paul: (Laughs)

TJ:
Does it bother you?

Paul:
I mean, we were always up against that. Because it was electronic music it wasn’t considered real music and we didn’t have any guitars.

TJ:
Maybe that’s why Martin Gore plays guitar any chance he gets (laughs)

Paul:
(laughs), How do I keep those questions from coming?

TJ:
Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. So, basically, I wish you all the best with the OneTwo album and just, off the record, I am a huge fan. Is there any chance that I can get an autograph?

Paul:
Of course

As a matter of fact OneTwo not only sent me an autograph they also visited my www.tj-music.com page and left a message on the guestbook and I feel very proud and I am very happy.

2006 - The Human League






14.03.2006 Vicar Street, Dublin/Ireland
THE HUMAN LEAGUE
Support: Neosupervital


Neosupervital is a freak in a funny sense of the word and his dancer is no different. In a comedian style Neosupervital plays rather dated sounding synthi-pop and accompanies himself on an electronic guitar, synthesizer and drum-computer. He doesn’t take himself serious and therefore his music is not embarrassing although in 21st century term it is rather dreadful.

Very funny **

Stage and instruments are in pure white and somewhat sterile which might be intended by the british pop trio The Human League. Susan, Joanne and Philip, all in their end 40s/early 50s look stunning and the spirit is there from the first second to the last. Philips voice is excellent and the League plays all their hits from “Being boiled” to “Human” and “Don’t you want me”. The new material morphes just fine with the classics and the concert is infectious. Susan says that the league doesn’t say it often: “ … but the reason why we are still loving it is because of YOU” (the fans) and I genuinely believe her.

We are in the first row and get a close look at one of the most influential bands in electronic pop.

The melodies are great and still sound modern which may be the reason why the Human League still has followers.

*** Superb



2006 - Depeche Mode in Dublin

26.06.2006 POINT THEATRE, DUBLIN
Depeche Mode


An unknown and obviously untalented DJ filled the position of support act for Depeche Mode at the sold out gig at the Point.

Depeche had played London just yesterday and the stage looks a little rushed. There is no gangway and no “Lightball” that says “Hello” and in total the stage looks smaller.

On top of that the sound isn´t the best all throughout the show, the whole P.A. is rather low volume and the people in the block I am sitting in must be dead or deaf – worst Depeche experience by far.

Having said that, the “Basildon Three” are still great and do their best. The setlist is again slightly changed which is great if you go and see them a number of times. Tonight they performed an acoustic version of “It doesn’t matter too” and as a special treat they play “Photographic” from their very first album.

They don´t do a second encore and the whole set seems rather short.

They were still worth every penny.

Depeche Mode **

2006 - Depeche Mode in Birmingham (Images)





2006 - Depeche Mode in Birmingham


31.03.2006 NEC Arena, Birmingham/England

Depeche Mode
Support: The Bravery


Just one day after the Manchester gig we find ourselves in a smaller hall, still huge but smaller than most stadiums or arenas. Even the stage in smaller and throughout the evening there is some feedback coming back from the microphones simply because the monitors are closer to the musicians.

The Bravery are supporting Depeche Mode and they are quite good although I have to say that I find the singer to be rather strange and not a good a frontman as he thinks he is.

Bravery **

The lights go dim, the stage lights get brighter and everybody in the hall is on their feet to welcome Depeche Mode. The groove is there and the evening turns out phenomenal. The sound isn´t the best but nobody seems bothered. The band messes up “Personal Jesus”, stop the song half way through, apologize and start it again and it turns out great. Usually Martin Gore sings “Shake the disease” in an acoustic version but decides to change the song to “Leave in Silence” tonight and I think it is great. I haven´t heard the song in years and everybody sings along – superb.

Depeche Mode ***

2006 - Depeche Mode in Manchester



30.03.2006 MEN Arena, Manchester/England
Depeche Mode
Support: The Bravery



The Bravery supports Depeche Mode and I like them a bit better than I liked them before now that I have heard them 3 times but all in all I think they lack originality. To me they sound like an American band who tries to sound British.

The Bravery **

Depeche Mode kicks off with “A pain that I am used to” and because we have different seats we get a better look at the stage this time which makes a difference because the show is great. Almost half an hour into the show and the gig doesn’t pick up speed. The crowd is just not up for it yet. Another 15 minutes and finally the spirit rises. It is a real setback for concert goers and I think the band feels the same.

In the end it was still a great show and Depeche Mode were truly amazing.

Depeche Mode ***

2006 - Depeche Mode in Lisbon



08.12.2006 Pavilhao Atlantico, Lisbon/Portugal
DEPECHE MODE
support: THE BRAVERY


We spent a whole week in Lisbon - a really beautiful, attractive city with flair and ambiente. To see Depeche Mode on their "Following the angel" tour was a bonus.

The huge venue just outside the Metro - station "Oriente" was packed and "The Bravery" from New York City, who opened up for Duran Duran in May 2005, were the opening act for the "Basildon - Three" better known as Depeche Mode.

We had very good seats on the first balcony and this time we were way closer to the Bravery as we had been back in May and they really pulled it off.

Like all the other support acts on earth they too were struggling with the sound and their lightshow was nothing else but the lights - test for Depeche Mode.

But they were enjoying themselves and so were we.

They aren´t brilliant as such and their songs are not really extraordinary but never the less The Bravery gave their best and it is highly appreciated.

Good **

Some 30 minutes later a downscaled stage (in comparison to prior tours) offered a playground for the boys and their two extra musicians on keys and drums.

The show was still well thought out and executed and Dave Gahan and Martin Gore really complimented each other as frontmen.

DM opened with their curent single "A pain that I am used to" and they also performed "John the revelator", "Suffer well" and the stunning "Precious" from the Playing The Angel album and the songs fitted in neatly with older material.

Apart from the obvious hymns "Enjoy the silence" and "Personal Jesus" I liked the acoustic version of "Shake the disease" performed by Martin and keyboarder Pedro.

"Home" was another stunner and "Everything counts" reminded me of their legendary "101" performance in spirit.

All the other "leftover" bands or re-united bands from Tears for Fears to the Human League are no match for Depeche Mode who are undoubtedly the best there is.

Great ***

See also:

Depeche Mode Manchester 06
Depeche Mode Birmingham 06
Depeche Mode Dublin 06
D - Mode 2002
Erasure 2005
Depeche Mode 1998

2006 - B.B. King & Gary Moore

29.03.2006 Hallam FM Arena, Sheffield/England

B.B. KING
Support: Gary Moore


B.B. King, the Bluesman, the living legend on his Farewell Tour. King is 80 years old and still has got the Blues. Before we get to experience him Gary Moore and his band play a delightful hour of Blues and Rock tracks from the works of Gary Moore.

Although it took me a while to get into the sprirt of things, his guitar skills are beyond belief. Some songs are better than others and I am not sure if I like his voice but overall it was a great gig.

Gary Moore **

Not too long after Moore had left the stage B.B. King and his all-black-male Band kick off their two hours show. Although it is Blues in essence, it has a big band feel to it and a lot of humour. Apart from perfectly played tunes, some touchy, some uplifting, I can´t help thinking how could it must be to have B.B. King as a grandfather. “I am a good man, a blues man, understand?” sings B.B. and we do understand!

B.B. King ***

2005 - Kiss Expo III Nottingham Interview: Zakk Wylde (Danny James)

I had an interview with Danny Lee James and “Space Ace” about Rock and Roll and all sorts of things.

Danny is playing music since age 4. He is a classical trained pianist and holds grade 8 in pianoforte. He also plays guitar for almost 25 years now.

He started playing guitar when he first heard Ozzy Osbourne’s first guitar player Randy Rhoads.

Danny played in a band called Fahrenheit an released two albums with them as well as performing in front of 84.000 people at the European Harley Davidson Rally in Berlin in 1994.

He also spent 3 years in the longest running KISS tribute band “Dressed to kill”.

Danny is now playing as Zakk Wylde in both an Ozzy Osbourne tribute act as well as in a Black Label Society tribute band.

Zakk:
What I like about rock music is the fact that you have to be able to play an instrument, you have to be able to play it well, you have to present yourself on stage and there is no fallacy of “here today – gone tomorrow”. It is all about hard work, commitment, and dedication. To me that is what represents rock music apart from what you see on TV now, things like “The X factor”.

TJ:
We went to see Alice Cooper in Glasgow last week and Twisted Sister opened up for him and they said they don’t even have a record company. They are currently talking to a record company in Scotland but they want to see how the tour goes.

Space Ace:
The last Twisted Sister album, was what? – All the old songs but on a disc.

Zakk:
Motley Crue were the instigators of this. They’ve gone on to form their own record label Motley Records. Kiss a re gonna do the same, they are running through Sanctuary now. Sanctuary has always been renown for working with rock musicians, Iron Maiden especially. Most rock bands now don’t get anywhere. They don’t get airplay for a start, they don’t get the credit they deserve and they don’t get the time that they deserve and a lot of people, a lot of young kids are coming to rock music now via the “Green Day”, “Blink 182” sort of door. Some of it is good but … at least it is live music but unfortunately a lot of them are coming in through the “Busted” sort of door, which is just fucking ass. And although they do play their own instruments to a point it is not rock music and …

Space Ace:
It is rock music with a twang

Zakk:
Well, there is a difference. There is Kiddie – Rock and than there is rock and roll.

TJ:
The Sweet or the Bay City Rollers were no different …

Zakk:
No. Well, there is a difference between the Sweet and the Bay City Rollers. Although the Bay City Rollers were phenomenally huge there is only one track I can remember of them whereas with Sweet there is a lifetime’s work of material and that’s the difference.

TJ:
You don’t get anybody saying things like: “Oh yeah, Prince was great”, although he really was in the 1980s. He only gets slugged nowadays.

Zakk:
I think the reason why people slug Prince off nowadays is because he is not that prominent anymore and people haven’t moved on from the shows that he put on. They’ve become used to not seeing that sort of show. The same thing could be said with Kiss. People become so used to not seeing the Kiss – Show nowadays in the UK that anything will do. When Crue came over here this year people were just like: “Fuck, wow” but then again the Crue – show was awesome but still nothing compared to what Kiss can do. People need that sort of exposure to live shows and to top artists but unfortunately the UK is so isolated.

TJ:
So is Ireland. We only get to see half the bands you get to see. So many bands came over, like Queen, who did their final show of their 2005 tour in Dublin, saying: “We didn’t know if we can come over, we had to calculate it”. Maiden played in 2003 and they said that they had been warned not to come over to Ireland because there is no market for hard rock and yet they sold out the biggest venue in Dublin.

Space Ace:
We’re just starved of music

Zakk:
Totally starved

TJ:
To me, U2 is not rock music anymore either

Zakk:
Unfortunately for U2 it is more a political statement than anything else from one member of the band. The band themselves are immensely talented, they are phenomenally good and they are by far one of the best live bands in the world. If only Bono took his head from out his ass. He is a fallacy to what he speaks about. He speaks about that we should treat the third world like the first world and we should give them all our money, yet, this guy is probably living in the biggest mansion you’ve ever seen.

Space Ace:
A lot of these rock stars are shouting about helping the world …

(People walk by, wondering what’s going on. We all are saying: Come on, join in, we’re just having a conversation about Bono…)

Space Ace:
… but they are not looking at their back doors.

TJ:
Where they came from …

Space Ace:
Where they came from and a lot of the areas they came from are deprived. So, some of the money that they earn should go back into their local communities.

Zakk:
U2 themselves could have financed at least two countries in Africa’s food thing out of the money they earned from their last tour. It is a very, very conflicting policy that he (Bono) has.

TJ:
There is one thing about all the Kiss things that you hear … I have this Eric Carr DVD …

Zakk:
Yes, the Fox – thing..

TJ:
.. where he (Eric Carr) actually brings in the Slayer tape to Kiss and they actually end up playing with Kiss. That’s commitment to rock and roll

Zakk:
Yes, it is and Eric Singer has just done the “Hurricane Kathrina” relief gig in the States and Bruce (Dickinson) is doing it as well and that’s in between a major Alice Cooper tour. I think music has got a much more wider reach to people these days. And it is not just rock music, it is all sorts of music.

Space Ace:
At the end of the day though, everywhere is suffering, what does it come down to, to support everybody in the world: Live Aid!

TJ:
And then people still get blamed they’re only trying to make money

Zakk:
Yes, Bob Geldof springs to mind there.

Space Ace:
You got to stand up for your rights.

Zakk:
To be quite honest with you, Bob Geldof is just an arrogant twat anyway.
(Everybody is laughing)

Zakk:
I spent six hours with him on a plane. He is just miserable…The funny thing is, where I live, I live in Freemantle in Perth, where Bon Scott grew up. I was saying earlier, there are about three AC/DC tribute bands in the Perth area and they try their hardest not to do any Bon Scott material, especially: “It is a long way to the top” as this is, unofficially, Australia’s national anthem. You try that and you don’t sound as lot like Bon Scott – you’re bottled! No one else in the band, only the singer. I have seen it happening, it is not good, you know.

TJ:
Do you have some admiration then for Brian Johnson?

Zakk:
Oh, Christ, yeah …

TJ:
I remember when Bon Scott died I thought that’s it but when “Back in Black” was released I thought: “Shit, he really pulled it off!”

Zakk:
Yeah, I think it is the greatest rock album ever made and it proofed it by selling, what, roughly 46 million copies to date?!

TJ:
Yeah, it is massive

2005 - Kiss Expo III Nottingham Interview: Jazan Wild





I also met Jazan Wild. Jazan´s CD "Carnival of Souls" is a stunner and by right should be signed by a big and supportive record company. Curt Cuomo is credited as co-producer on Jazan´s album and is known by KISS fans for co-writing songs on KISS´"Carnival of souls" album. (Yes, 2 albums - same title, different artists!) as well as co-writing the KISS stunner "Psycho Circus". Main producer of the album is Grammy(TM) award winner Bob Kulick, who is associated with KISS right from the start. His younger brother Bruce was in KISS from 1984 to their amazing reunion in 1996.

Jazan Wild currently tries to convey his comics and music to as many people as possible.

Jazan turned out to be a very nice and spiritual person and it was a pleasure talking to him. We even exchanged our CDs and Jazan also gave me a free comic. Thanks again, Jazan

TJ:
Do you have any advise for people who are interested in drawing and who want to get into the business? I noticed on your website that people could approach you about that. My girlfriend’s sister is 15 now and she wants to do Anime and all that …

Jazan:
Actually, this is the gentlemen right here: Rich is our editor and he does a ton of submissions and stuff. She is 15? I think, the best thing is to do what you wanna do, you follow your heart. If you believe in what you do it will be a million times better than working in some job you don’t love to do. If she finds people that she really likes, like, say she finds a great artist like Kevin Conrad or so, develop their style, learn what it is that she likes about it and just keep practising and believe in herself. I met a lot of those people and they are just people. As soon as you realise that she has every much as right to be successful as they do just keep at it. The worst thing is a lot of people like to tell people that they can’t do something. They just like to tell them that because they stopped.

TJ:
It is conditioning

Jazan:
Yes, it is conditioning. They stopped doing what they want to do but she shouldn’t stop no matter what. If she wants to do it – go do it.

TJ:
How do you get out of the lows?

Jazan:
The lows? Well, surround yourself with people that are positive. I got very lucky that the people I am with are very positive people. There are gonna be lows everyday and on every level there is ups and downs. Even if you get to your biggest success, like this, this is a Kiss convention and Kiss is notorious for having ups and downs. Even Kiss, they had so many ups and downs and even on their level they still have that. You have to keep an in-go. I have to keep an in-go to keep going. Right now my new goal is to get this comic book and this CD to as many people as I can. I really don’t care about the money. I think the money comes with what you love. I am gonna find a way to get it out to as many people as I can but I have ups and downs and setbacks every day. But as long as I stay focused on my final goal I should be able to keep going. If you wanna make a CD. Just go and make one.

TJ:
I made nine!

Jazan:
You made nine?! Well, you see what I am saying. Can I get one?

TJ:
Yeah, we can swap.

Jazan:
Yeah, let’s switch out.

(TJ asks his girlfriend to take a picture while the lads exchange their CDs.)

TJ:
This is historical!

Jazan:
I really appreciate it

TJ:
So do I. Our idea as well was to come over (to the expo, that is) to give support to “really” played music and I actually like the idea that it is not only about music. With regards to Kiss, it has always been about the package as well.

Jazan:
It is true, I mean, when I started to do this I then just see the music, I then just see the comic book. I had this whole vision. I love Alice Cooper, I love Kiss …

TJ:
We just saw Alice live last week in Glasgow.

Jazan:
How was it?

TJ:
Great. It was absolutely fantastic. And Twisted Sister opened up.

Jazan:
Dee Snyder rocks! And Eric Singer was playing drums.

TJ:
Yeah, and Alice Cooper: “I have him, the best drummer in all rock and roll: The mighty, mighty Eric Singer!”

Jazan:
And you know what, he is right!

TJ:
I also was a big, big fan of Eric Carr

Jazan:
Me too.

TJ:
When I started drumming I wanted to drum like him.

Jazan:
Yeah, “Creatures of the night” …

TJ:
I only had an electronic drum kit back then but I still played heavy metal as I simply couldn’t afford another kit. And I remember when he died I was really sad. I felt really close to him.

Jazan:
Eric was so personal with the fans, he really build up this whole reputation. I mean, he was just loved by anybody who met the guy.

TJ:
Did you see “The story of the fox” DVD?

Jazan:
The DVD, yes, they have Bill Aucoin and all, which was so cool.

TJ:
I just bought it four weeks ago. I couldn’t find it anywhere in Ireland, so I ordered it via Amazon or something like that. When you look at the DVD I was thinking: “I didn’t know all that …” I didn’t know that he was into drawing.

Jazan:
Oh, really? Oh, the Rockheads™, yeah, I forgot about that. And I remember Bruce Kulick and him released a CD that featured the Rockheads, and they had all that big hair and stuff. I still love the guy, I do.

TJ:
In my “non rock star life” as I call it, I work with kids as a homework support worker and I always come back from my travels with some advise. They are all living in a real disadvantaged area with lots of anti social behaviour and I got great advise out of Adam Bomb as well and I will certainly use what you said about the “positiveness”.

Jazan:
Yeah, and if they are from a small area that’s the thing they got to remember too, I came from a very, very small town and basically nobody ever leaves the town. Well, I left the town and I felt like being up against the world and it will never take off but you just keep going, you keep that in-go. As long as they do that it doesn’t make a difference where they’re from. Paul and Gene came from somewhere, I mean, Gene came …

TJ:
.. from Israel.

Jazan:
..From Israel and he used to, I mean, if he get the book he did: “Kiss and makeup” I think it is, I had the audio book version of it, and he talks about how he used to get fruit and bring it back and sell it, I mean, they were so poor but he found a way, even back then he was finding a way to get out there and do something and be creative. And he did, he dragged the food down and sold it to the people when they came back from the fields and he brought the money home to his mum. He has been my aspiration, Gene Simmons, without a doubt. I don’t care what people say, sometimes people say bad things about him but I love the guy. He has also been in a very tough business for 40 some years now and he had to deal with people who were trying to take stuff from him for a long time and when you look back at some of the other artists like those from “Motown”, those guys never got a dime for any of the work they did. Gene Simmons is one of these guys who says: “Now, I get what I deserve”. I admire that he looks out for himself, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I actually like it.

TJ:
I was surprised when the “Kiss Box Set” was released in 2001, and it comes with this huge booklet, that Gene said they couldn’t get the rights of some of the Van Halen songs, he had originally recorded as demos. I mean, he made Van Halen.

Jazan:
He totally discovered Van Halen.

TJ:
You never know who owns those rights. Maybe it wasn’t any of the actual players in the band that stopped him.

Jazan:
Yeah, you never know who owns what, it is not Eddie and Alex. They could have released “Kiss meets the phantom at the park”, he didn’t even know about his own movie. I think it is finally coming out now. I don’t know if it is through Kiss or through someone else. That’s what I was trying to talk about, he has learned from those mistakes and he is trying from here on out to make right those wrongs. I agree with that.

TJ:
What do you think of his new solo album?

Jazan:
I like the lot of it, I think my favourite track, I mean I love “Carnival of souls” and I actually like the title track a lot and then there is one track that Bob Kulick co-wrote on it and I thought that is really cool too and I am really looking forward to Paul’s.

TJ:
This is highly anticipated everywhere. To many people I spoke to, Paul is what makes Kiss tick.

Jazan:
To me, I think, Gene I always liked more as a personality and more as, I mean I love his songs in Kiss, I do, but Paul’s, who I love, I mean, if you want to listen to a solo album then I think it should be Paul’s. I love a lot of Gene’s but then there is some stuff I didn’t like on Gene’s too. But then, you can’t put Paul Stanley in “Rock School” and make it work either. There is different aspects, Gene can do all these other things I admire but I think Paul Stanley’s album is gonna kick ass, I really do, I think it is going to be great.

TJ:
I wish him well anyway

Jazan:
Yeah, me too. But I still want another Kiss album.

TJ:
Absolutely. I mean, at the moment I don’t really care who plays what on an album as they always managed to create a vibe.

Jazan:
They do. The album I loved was: “Carnival of souls”, and I am not saying it because I did that, and “Revenge”. In “Revenge” and “Carnival of souls” they started to go in this dark turn.

TJ:
What’s the song called that Paul wrote for his son? “I’ll be there”.

Jazan:
Yeah. I co-wrote three songs on my album with Curt Cuomo. Curt Cuomo co-wrote every song that Paul Stanley sang on “Carnival of souls” and he co-wrote “Psycho Circus”. You can hear that Curt is a great songwriter and they really worked well together. I like where Bruce and Eric took the music, I thought these guys are going in this really great direction and then the re-union happened and who can not want that?

TJ:
Yeah, but I felt sorry for Bruce and Eric and I was quite surprised when Tommy Thayer joined. I always felt that Bruce Kulick should have been the one to come back. Maybe that was only wishful thinking. I really was into the off – makeup period.

Jazan:
Yeah, you liked the whole eighties and “Lick it up” and all that.

TJ:
I wasn’t too fond of “Lick it up” but “Animalize” was just great. At that time they played in half an empty hall back then supported by Bon Jovi.

Jazan:
Bon Jovi, I love the guy. I think he is great.

TJ:
Nah, I hate him.

Jazan:
(laughs) You hate him! Do you like him (directs his question to TJs girlfriend, who nods), his new album is great.

TJ:
I think he is a big show-off. I don’t really “not like him” but I think he has rather lost his edge, you know what I mean. Anyway, Kiss played in half an empty hall because it was unmasked and they had only taken Bruce Kulick into the band because St. John had developed the Reiters – Syndrom and couldn’t play and that was the first time I saw them.

Jazan:
They did that with “Creatures of the night” too. The first time I saw them was the “Creatures” tour and there wasn’t as many people at that because there was a lot of things going on in the states. It was down south in the States and it was all this religious stuff going on too and there was protesting and all that but that was one of the best times that I had ever seen Kiss. It was so cool to see that big tank out there and the whole “I love it loud” thing.

TJ:
I saw them three times. In 1984 and twice when the reunion happened. It is not so easy in Europe to see them.

Jazan:
They don’t come over as much and they really should. There is so many fans, I mean, just look at this today. This is a Kiss convention and there are tons of people here.

TJ:
Yeah, and everybody feeds back. I just read that Eric goes to Mexico for another convention with Bruce Kulick. And lots of Japanese are into Heavy Metal as well. It is funny that they are so reserved and at the same time really rock.

Jazan:
Exactly, and we are releasing this CD in Japan and also we are releasing the comic in Japan because it is really huge there. I am looking forward to it

TJ:
We went to see Def Leppard in Dublin a few years ago and there was this fan from Nagoya in Japan who just came over for this. She booked two nights at the hotel next to the venue just to be there. Wow, how cool is that. Having fans like this is what keeps a band going.

Jazan:
Yeah, well, Bon Jovi just broke the records. There are just three bands that ever managed to climb to number one, American bands, maybe not American bands, but rock bands who went straight to number one. I don’t know exactly the wording but they are only three bands that achieved what they’ve just achieved: Beatles, Bay City Rollers and Bon Jovi!

TJ:
Bay City Rollers???

Jazan:
Bay City Rollers of all people, I read that and I was like: “Really?” but it is true. Do you remember them?

TJ:
I sure do

Jazan:
My girlfriend loves them

TJ:
The original singer of the Bay City Rollers is doing this charity gig next months in Glasgow with Alvin Stardust. What is his name again?

Jazan’s grifriend:
McKeown.

TJ:
Yeah, Ian McKeown. Are you going?

Jazan’s girlfriend:
I’d love to but unfortunately we will be back in the States next Wednesday.

TJ:
We read about that when we went over to see Alice Cooper. My son is thirteen now and I invited him to a Whitesnake concert. It was the only rock concert that was on at the time and even though I am not too fond of David Coverdale I thought it is a good idea to bring him to a rock gig. He is still listening to “50 Cent”, what can you do? It is his time now.

Jazan:
That’s a fed that is pushed on people: Rap. I mean its got its place but the thing I don’t like about the American music right now is that you got maybe 5 to 10 companies that control the whole what everybody hears and they push what they want to push and there are so many great bands out there that really never get a fair shake and that’s why I am having my own company. And I love it, I absolutely love it and we put the music that we want out there and we don’t care what those companies say and it is being super. We are received just amazingly by everybody, so be it. That’s what I meant by saying “having the dream and just not quitting”. If I woulda just went by American music I would have given up but I didn’t. I said I will achieve it no matter what and that’s what you gotta do. Kiss does that. Sometimes they were huge, remember “Unmasked”, I mean, they were huge in Australia when they didn’t do that well in the States they find ways to keep the ball rolling and that’s cool, I love it.

Thanks to Jazan for this really cool interview.

See also KISS 1984, 1996, 1999, Kiss Expo III Nottingham 2005 and all related blogs, Alice Cooper & Twisted Sister 2005

2005 - Kiss Expo III Nottingham Interview: Adam Bomb







Adam Bomb is one hell of a musician who auditioned for Kiss twenty some years ago when he was under eighteen. He is a freak but a very nice one. I enjoyed interviewing him as well as seeing him perform a “three Kiss song” live set.

TJ:
When it didn’t happen with Kiss …

Adam: What do you mean “It didn’t happen”?

TJ:
When you didn’t get the gig

Adam:
How would I get the gig. They’re not gonna hire a fucking boy, a little boy. They were grown men, I mean, I lied to them on my part. I just wanted to meet them and play with them and I got that chance.

TJ:
Lets just imagine you would have been accepted as a member of Kiss and they would make you wear make up. What do you think they would have chosen for you?

Adam:
Oh, I don’t know, I would have been worse shaped than Ace. I would have never been able to handle that, you know, I am my own animal. I don’t know, probably, what animal would I be? I don’t know, they haven’t made up yet a monster from garden Eden. I think they’d make me into a little girl, a little pretty girl. You know, I am a cartoon without makeup, I don’t need makeup, you know.

TJ:
Apart from doing radio I also work with kids. If a little boy now starts playing guitar what advise can you give him apart from not listening to people?

Adam:
Listen to Van Halen, try to humble yourself and learn how to eat shit and do it on a daily basis. It all depends on what you want to do with your life. I mean, I couldn’t recommend what I do to anybody but I don’t think anybody could do what I do. I do 200 to 250 shows in the space of a year but that’s what it is about. It is about playing music. My advice is to play in front of people, play loud, get an old guitar, don’t use effects, listen to Van Halen or Led Zeppelin, Michael Schenker from UFO or the Scorpions, you know, the real guitarists. Angus Young,ehm, try to sound like them, work on your vibrato, try not to sound like a dodgy flat singer, when you play guitar try to sound in key and in tune and rock like fuck. I kinda play guitar like Mike Tyson. Yeah, maybe there is a lot of guys that are better than me but I bite your fucking ear off, I don’t care. It is all about beating the shit out of it and loving it at the same time. It’s the same like treating a woman.

TJ:
Beating the shit out of her and loving it?

(Adam turns around to my girlfriend and tries to sell her a CD than he realises that she is there with me. We have some problems with our new camera …)

TJ:
There is something wrong with this bleeding camera

Adam:
That’s because you bought a Japanese one. If you would have bought a German one it would have been more efficient.

TJ:
Maybe, the camera is operated by a German. Does that not make up for it?

Adam:
(laughs) I don’t know.

Thanks Adam for your time and insight.

See also:

KISS 1984, KISS 1996, KISS 1999, Scorpions 1996

2005 - Kiss Expo III Nottingham









19.11.2005 Rock City / Nottingham
KISS EXPO III – 2005
With: Eric Singer, Dressed to Kill ...

We left Dublin by plane at 7.10 a.m. on a Saturday morning, hoping for a cool day and I wasn’t disappointed – the KISS Expo turned out to be the event of the year. And that says a lot as 2005 was an eventful year with plenty of good acts coming our way.

After checking in at the Jury’s Inn in Nottingham and a lovely English breakfast with beans, sausages, toast and everything at the “Cosy Teapot Café” I was on my way to the Welbeck Hotel next to the Rock City venue, where I was hoping to find Adam Bomb, which whom I had scheduled an appointment over the phone a few weeks ago. He wasn’t there!

I found him at the expo where the whirlwind musician was busy selling his merchandise before playing a three – song KISS set which included “Detroit Rock City”, “Firehouse” and “Rock and Roll all night”.

The interview later turned out great. He was genuinely nice, talkative and open. It was fun and a pleasure talking to him. Eric Singer was busy signing autographs just opposite Adams small stand and was too busy to be approached for an interview.

That was o.k. – there were plenty of people willing to share their opinions about rock music in general. I got to talk to many people and it was good craic.
After talking to Danny Lee James, Ex – “Dressed to Kill”, and a mate of his I was also able to chat to Jazan Wild, who just produced a CD, produced by Bob Kulick, featuring original material, partly co-written by Curt Cuomo who wrote plenty of songs with Paul Stanley in the past. Jazan is also involved in a comic series and his quest was to convey his stuff to the general public.

The conversation I had with him was my personal highlight of the day as he turned out to be quite spiritual. We exchanged our own CDs and on top of that he even gave me a free comic. Thanks again, Jazan.

As expected, the expo was packed! There was everything from the regular KISS merchandise to face painters and all those long-haired rockers were absolutely cool and kind and there weren’t any tensions anywhere whatsoever.
It was simply brilliant!

2005 - Queen and Paul Rogers

14.05.2005 The Point, Dublin
QUEEN & PAUL RODGERS
€ 70,95


18 years after their last tour and 14 years after Freddie Mercury’s AIDS – related death in November 1991 Queen are back. The band that struggled for over a decade in the quest to replace Mercury finally found a match in Ex – “Free” Front man Paul Rodgers.

This is a highly anticipated tour – living legends live in Dublin. As a matter of fact, the Dublin gig is the last gig of the tour and the Point seems to be sold out.

Around 9 p.m. Queen and Paul hit the stage and play classic after classic for the next 2 ¼ hours.

The mood is infectious and Roger Taylor and Brian May accompanied by world class musicians are simply amazing. Brian has two solo parts where he sings with the crowd and where he plays a massive guitar solo.

Needless to mention that the Queen production is big. The sound is massive and the visuals match the music.

Roger Taylor also sings a couple of songs on his own including “Say it is not true” against HIV.

All in all simply brilliant.

Brian May refers to Paul Rodgers as the “best white boy to sing the blues” – that might be so but the Queen material is a different matter altogether.

No doubt, Rodgers can sing and especially the three classic “Free” songs were brilliant but throughout the show he didn’t seem to get into the spirit of things and very often he simply didn’t reach those notes.

The overall evening doesn’t fail to impress but Rodgers, quite frankly, is not the singer the masses were hoping for.

Queen and Paul Rodgers ** Good

see also
Queen coverband 2000, Queen Musical 2003

2005 - Paul Di'Anno

27.02.2005 Whelans, Camden Street, Dublin:
PAUL DI´ANNO
Special Guests:
€ 17,-


“Bruce Dickinson IS the best singer of Maiden … “ (Quote, Paul Di`Anno) – but that doesn’t mean that Di´Anno isn’t a great singer himself. After all, it was his voice that made Iron Maiden famous in the first place. When Maiden exploded, rumour has it, Di´Anno couldn’t handle the pressure that came along with fame. But all that is ages ago and Di´Anno is back on track and back on the road. Or, is he?

Apparently not.

Shortly after 8p.m. the first of two support bands “Involution” started the evening off with a four-song set. Unfortunately, the songs weren’t any good and nobody seemed to have liked them. So: No points for “Involution”.

Almost immediately after “Involution”, “Scavenger” hit the stage to play seven songs to the audience. The songs were way better than “Involution’s” and the audience was way more supportive.

Scavengers singer pointed out that Paul Di´Anno is pretty pissed off because England lost a football match against Ireland on that day and everybody thought that was just a joke.

Apparently it wasn’t – Stoned or drunk or something in between Di´Anno walked on stage and along came a very negative attitude. He constantly gave out about the “fact” that the Dublin crowd was obviously less noisy than the Belfast – crowd has been and when his microphone quit working four times he became furious, shouting at the engineer and telling the audience that he is taking on anyone who wants to fight. He called a “fan” a fucking cunt and when he (finally) said something nice to the audience almost nobody believed that this came from the heart.

Even though Paul and his really brilliant band played some of the classic Maiden tracks, including “Sanctuary” and “Running free” – his voice was not as I had remembered it. Perhaps it was the P.A., perhaps it was his shape – whatever it was, it wasn’t good at all.

A very disappointing evening.

Involution *
Scavenger **
Paul Di´Anno *

See also:
Iron Maiden 2003

2005 - Erasure

25.02.2005 Vicar Street, Dublin
ERASURE
€ 41,50


Support: Piney Gir

It has been a while since Erasure embarked on a tour therefore it is no surprise that nearly all gigs are sold out.

The Erasure tour kicked off in Belfast only a day before Erasure hits the republic of Ireland for a two nights sold out performance at the Vicar Street. As a life long fan I have been waiting for this event for years.

The tour supports their new album: “Nightbird” – truly: Erasure’s best album in years.

Female vocalist Piney Gir supported by two Gentlemen on the keys opens up for Erasure. She uses a very old Yamaha SHS – 10 keyboard and a Casio DG-20 to make her music sound “old” or at least old fashioned and herself is wearing a fifties style petticoat. As interesting as she may look – the music cannot score at all.

To describe it as strange wouldn’t do it any justice. She is reminiscent of Björk at times but hasn’t got her grace. None of the songs really grab the attention of the audience and even though one must confirm cool break beats at times the songs lack originality. Her last song was a rather weird version of “The Who” classic “My Generation”.

Piney Gir *

Only minutes later Erasure hit the stage. The stage is nicely decorated and looks like a forest to underline the path of the “Nightbird”.

The band starts with a new song: “No doubt” and as the show unfolds Erasure plays some more tracks from the new CD. It is astonishing how smoothly the new material fits in with the classic songs. Vince Clark stays in the shadow (as usual) and plays his synthesizers and acoustic guitar to the miracle voice of one Andy Bell and their two female backing vocalists.

Andy dances along the stage and is very friendly and genuinely nice to the audience. He likes to show off in his golden underpants or his angel- or even Elvis outfit. Erasure plays all their favourite tracks from “Respect”, “I love to hate you”, “In your arms”, “Oh Lamoure”, “Ship of fools” and “Blue Savannah Song” to the new songs such as “Breathe” or “I’ll bet your mad at me”.

Andy looks a bit tired and he is not always in tune with his surroundings, forgets some of the lyrics and often looks to Vince Clark for guidance. He still is the brilliant entertainer he is so well known for and the concert is simply a wonderful experience.

Erasure ***

See also: Depeche Mode 1998, Depeche Mode 2006 Birmingham/Manchester/Dublin/Portugal Alison Moyet 2002 Tommy Musical 1995

2005 - Elton John

02.07.2005 RDS Arena, Dublin
ELTON JOHN
Support: James Blunt, Rufus Wainwright


The concert day coincided with the historical LIVE8 concerts, once more organised by Sir Bob Geldof. This time Geldof had arranged 9 concerts simultaneously around the globe. “Make poverty history” was the slogan used for the events. All concerts were entrance free. “We don’t want your money – we want your name” (Geldof) – the name was wanted on the pledge to make poverty history, available on the especially created Website: www.live8live.com - 9 cities, 150 bands, 2 million spectators, 3.8 billion viewers!

Due to the fact that Elton John was performing @ LIVE8 in London earlier in the day the gates of the RDS opened at 1p.m. and from 2 p.m. onwards LIVE8 was broadcasted on big screens until 6p.m., the time when James Blunt plus band was coming on stage.

Blunt was very nice and his songs were all well interpreted by him and his band. The songs are all love songs really and their 40 minutes set was nice to listen to / look at.

Only minutes later Rufus Wainwright and his bunch of musicians entered the stage. Rufus´ sense of humour was hilarious although most of the material played was rather serious or at least not meant to be taken funny.

Most of his songs weren’t easy listening at all but they were showcased with professionalism and fun and therefore were really enjoyable.

Only minutes later Elton John and his brilliant band were on. Boy, they were great. In a bit over two hours Elton John played some tracks from his current album: “Peachtree Road” as well as tracks from the just completed “Billy Elliot” musical score.

And Elton also played a number of his world hits, including: “Daniel”, “Sad Songs”, “That’s why they call it the Blues”, “Don’t let the sun go down and me”, “Rocket man” and “This song”.

Elton John is a virtuous piano player and a brilliant singer. He was full of energy and accompanied by drums, guitar, bass, percussion, keyboards and (at least sometimes) an eight headed choir Elton Johns performance was mind blowing.

The mood was good and the RDS was really packed.

Elton John *** Rufus Wainwright *** James Blunt ***

2005 - Duran Duran



DURAN DURAN
Birmingham Football Club, 28th May 2005
Support: The Bravery, Daniel Bedingfield
₤ 45,-


Wow! That really was a superb experience. Only a 25min. walk from the hotel brought us to the stadium. We booked and paid the tickets months ago per credit card and Ticketmaster™ UK failed to send the tickets to us on time therefore we ended up in a long queue to finally get our tickets on the day of the event.

Fortunately the entrance 6: “Seating Blocks 25 – 35” was next to the ticket desk so we didn’t have to look any further and decided to take another stroll through the city instead of waiting for the stadium to open alongside all the others who only got standing tickets.

The stadium opened its gates around 3.30 p.m. and the show finally kicked off around 6.20p.m. when The Bravery from America came on stage.

The sound quality wasn’t great and so the songs did not really catch my attention. The sound got better towards the end of their rather short set and what I could hear was quite likeable.

Some 15 minutes later Daniel Bedingfield and band hit the stage. He was warmly received by the crowd and really kicked ass, musically. Full of energy and with good, strong vocals and good melodies it was fun to watch him.

30 000 people gathered at the Birmingham City Football Stadium St. Andrews to watch the “wild boys” returning to their hometown.

And their hometown gig left a lasting impression.

Supported by a massive light show and cool stage outfit the “fab 5” wasted no time and picked up speed right from the start. Duran Duran were in brilliant shape and even though Simon LeBon had problems hitting the right keys from time to time the music was perfect.

Double Duran played most of their hits including: “(Reach out for the) Sunrise”, “The Reflex”, “Wild Boys”, “Girls On Film” and “Save A Prayer”. “Rio” ended the show.

My personal highlight was “The Chauffeur” which I hadn’t heard in years and the charismatic Cockney Rebel – cover: “Make me smile”.

All in all a great night out. The boys seemed in tune with each other and they certainly enjoyed themselves as much as the fans.

Duran Duran - *** Great
Daniel Bedingfield - *** Great
The Bravery ** - Good

For more about The Bravery see Depeche Mode 2006