I've been very much in an artistic juggling act for the last couple of months, mainly inside my own head, trying to make difficult decisions, regarding material and co-writing, clarifying direction and synchronising artwork to make sure it all lands together, as it should. It's a bit like having your own personal earthquake, yet waiting for the inevitable aftershocks that remain unpredictable.
I was very much set in my mind last year to record two separate albums; one solid metal album and an AOR record to empty my head, heart and not let a large proportion of followers down. It changed toward the end of the last year, to very much one record, but the material was so mixed, I became increasingly uncomfortable about that. I felt that the material was much too diverse to belong on one single album and that feeling of unrest has stayed with me for a couple of months. And it's not as if anything has detracted from the writing process; on the contrary, it has just developed it's own lease of life and pulled me in different directions.
I have been so solidly satisfied with the co-writing with Robert Sall, that it was starting to want to pull the album in that direction; whereby the work I did with Tommy Denander needed closer inspection and attention on my behalf, which I still have to do.
Jumping in the middle of these thought processes, landed Neil Kernon, to start mixing, while I was very deep in writing. That in itself, didn't bother me that much; it's very easy to run in tandem, and hey presto, the entrance of Ralph Cardall, a multi instrumentalist and all round rock n roll soul from my past, that I never really connected properly with over twenty years ago, added to the aftershocks.
So, the soup, (or 'the plot' - as mine and Rocky Shades' friend would say) thickened somewhat and I had to become a better all round juggler and 'up' my patience level somewhat.
Never having been a proud man, I find it easy to say that finance has been a real problem, but then it has always been one of the rockers biggest hurdles; the enthusiasm always outweighs the means, ergo exercising and developing the patience still further than you thought was possible.
'Soldier on', is the order of the time and so be it.
Ralph Cardall was managed by the same lady, Linda Bruce, as I was myself around the Siam time in the early 90's and I was aware of a quiet, yet talented character in the background who I knew was a force in the band, 'RATTLESNAKE KISS', but I had much deeper connection with Paul Talbot, who was also a guitarist in the same band, but worked as a sound engineer at the Rich Bitch studios in Selly Oak, Birmingham, under the management of Rob and Linda Bruce. Linda passed away many years ago now, but Rob carried on his very popular business and it still thrives today.
It wasn't until Shy filmed the tribute concert to Steve Harris, that I connected with Ralph Cardall at all; by coincidence, I was pushing for video edits from the concert for Firefest to use as promo material, when I discovered it was Ralph who was managing the video footage and edits etc. The rapport was pretty instantaneous and we have begun writing and recording material that kicks other elements of the record into check and makes sense of a lot of things, where I was meandering somewhat over recent weeks.
My life long passion to re-record a great 60's hit has come back to the surface and Ralph is instrumental in this as in other work that is current now.
All round, a chance meeting that has turned out to be a wonderful asset. Ralph is a bit like me, in that he doesn't do compliments and is happier to focus on the art and spend his time doing what he's good at, writing and recording music. So, I'll let him do that, and not tell him he's great too often :)
I fully intend to publish the first mix from Neil Kernon this month for the public to listen to, buy, if they want and use it as a mascot for the heavier album and as a token for being behind with my schedule some months; an indicator, if you like, as to what the rest of the album might hold as it comes to fruition later in the year.
At the rate I'm going, I will undoubtedly split the album back up into two separate records. But I have a mind to connect them from a marketing standpoint and probably release a double album as one pack.
OK, well, Neil Kernon is picking away at our performances in Chicago and I guess it wont be long before 'Northern Star' will land here for all to hear; it's a good slice of metal, laced with a lot of vocals and kind of reminds of what I'm made up of; some Shy, some Siam and some Judas Priest. But I'll leave that for you to decide.
I leave it in the capable hands of Mr. Kernon to balance up these things and play me back exactly what I had in my head, when the pen first hit the paper.
Spring is coming and the best to you all.