Rock Impressions

by Giancarlo Bolther

Spirit of Man, the title reminds themes like religion and philosophy, what do you think about religion and how much religious are you?

Hi, I'm not a religious person but I do believe in God. My God, the God that takes care of me and the people close to me. God is in the heart, not standing on a pull pit to be afraid of!

There is a philosophical message that you want to give with this album?
Not really, I just hope everybody enjoys the songs as songs and can relate to what they are trying to say.

Does your music is a way to escape from the reality, or to face the reality?
Most of the songs are about relationships, things that affect us all, so Spirit of Man lives in the real world of caring for our friends, our families, our country men, things we treasure in life, but also our downfalls of jealousy and desire and having to look in the mirror to see what we've become!

How do you go about the process of composing songs?
The songs this time around were written by Dave Thompson and Paul Uttley from Lost Weekend, who composed nine for the album, and Vince O'Regan, my guitar player and co-producer who wrote the other three, plus a song called Temptation as a bonus track for the Japanese version.

Musically speaking, is Spirit of Man an album of faith in the future or of confirmation of what have you done over the past?

Both really, depending on the song. For instance the title track Spirit of Man is a song of hope, pulling together to achieve a better life, while Judgement Day and End of the Story take a reflective view of our lives and how we are judged by others !

After all the records you have worked on, do you find it easier or more difficult to make a new album?
It depends on who I’m working with as a song writer and how we gel together and also the quality of the songs they write for me, but I always look foreword to making a new album and I don't call it as hard work, just what I love doing, no matte how long it takes!

With your solo project you choose a very classic Magnum sound, why? Do you are nostalgic?
Tony Clarkin has written many great epic style songs in the past and with my solo albums I am able to carry on that legacy with different song writers who miss that style of music. I try to recreate the sound and emotions from that era, but at the same time wish to move foreword with the present Magnum line-up and Tony's view of which direction he feels his writing is going!

Do you have ever thinked to play these songs with your old band?

If you mean Magnum then no, of cause not, but I do still play a few Magnum songs in my live set to please my audience and promoters alike, but try to keep a solo show first and foremost.

What was happened when you decided to break up with Magnum and why did you decided to come back?

Magnum had been around for twenty years and Tony was looking for something new and exciting for him, so it was the end of a era and we all moved on. Tony and I formed Hard Rain, I started working with Gary hughes, left Hard Rain because I was enjoying having my own band and solo career, then Tony called me one day to ask if I fancied reforming Magnum with him, so now I have both and I love them equally!

At the end of the eighties Magnum’s sound was changed from epic to mainstream and seemed to loose his magic vibe, what was happened and do you have liked that decision?
This is for Tony to answer, being Magnum's song writer and producer, but I think you need a new direction sometimes if your to grow as a song writer, not keep doing the same stuff all the time and I was very happy to go along with his decision to change, wanting the same myself as a singer.

Which emotions have you felt with your come back?
Being on stage in front of the Magnum fans once again, who really are the best audience in the world as far as I’m concerned!

Which is you fave Magnum’s album and which is the one that you dislike and why?
I don't dislike any Magnum album. How could I not look back and be nothing but proud of everyone, but I think On A Story Tellers Night is probably my No1 because of what it means to so many Magnum fans and many of the songs are still stage favourites!

Which memories do you like best to remember about the eighties?
I guess touring with the likes of Judus Priest, Whitesnake, Def Leoppard, Ozzy Osbourne all over America, festivals with ZZ Top, Bon Jovi, Metallica, Status Quo, Meat Loaf, Black Sabbath, bringing up two daughters when I was their, recording in Montreaux with Roger Taylor from Queen, Sex Drugs, Rock 'n Roll, you know the normal stuff !

Which is the greatest satisfaction happened to you in your musical carreer?
Knowing that Magnum has given me the life I have now and also being given the chance to peruse a solo career in later years, but mainly having the undying loyalty and appreciation of the many fans around the world who love the music I've had the pleasure to be part of !

You have a lot of experience in the music world, what has this tought you?
Mainly to make the most of the good times, because there will always be bad times as well. It's very easy to be disillusioned about the whole business, so don't expect to be a millionaire over night, but just except if you're prepared to put up with the bullshit and strive as hard as you can to make success of it, then eventually you will find the rewards you been looking for, in many disguises, and hopefully come out the other side a happier and better person !

Can you describe to us your meeting with Gary Hughes and Paul Hodson and which are the differencies between them?

My record label at the time and my manager Annie arranged a meeting for Gary and myself to discuss us working together on some of his songs that he felt would be perfect for me to sing. I agreed they would and we started to record The Tower. They reminded me of songs I’d sung with Magnum from an earlier period, so my heart was very much with them and he ended up writing another two albums for me, Legends and Middle Earth, both in a very AOR rock style. As for Paul, he played keyboards with band name Hard Rain, a band formed by Tony Clarkin and Myself and offered to take over from Gary, who had done enough for me and himself. Paul’s songs were harder edged, more metallic sounding altogether, but still commercial, which brought out another side of my voice and Empires Burn gave me a new direction to follow and a wider audience, which I’m hoping to expand with Spirit of Man. I enjoyed working with them both and we are all still good friends.

What do you feel about playing with people who is growth up listening to your music?

I know they have a lot of respect for me and where I come from and it’s really great to work with the likes of Vince O’Regan, Dave Thompson and Paul Uttly from Lost Weekend, Oliver Wakeman, Jamie Little and Gavin Cooper, from my solo band, because we all want to make the same kind of music that I’ve always loved and they all think and feel the same, so we’re all on the same level, despite our age differences, because age does not matter with music!

Which are the differencies between working with a band and as soloist?
As a solo artist you’re responsible for making all the decisions who you work with. Luckily I have a great manager who takes care of the business side and co-ordinates between record label and promoters alike, but I choose who’s in the band and who writes songs for me and if it all goes wrong the buck stops at me, but I don’t intent to let that happen, ever!

How have you get in touch with Frontiers Records?
I used to be signed to a UK label called Now and Then Records and Frontiers were the outlet and distribution company for Europe and the UK and Mario and Serafino have always done an outstanding job of promoting my solo albums, so it was only natural to sign to them direct when the contract ran out with Now and Then and I’m very pleased to be part of Frontiers empire and look forward to a long and fruitful future working together.

A lot of great acts are signing with small labels and great companies are in difficulty, what do you feel about this situation?

I think the bigger labels now have so many different bands and artists with them that they only fully promote what sort of music is popular for their own profit and how good it is. Smaller labels seem to care more about rock and will really help a band with promotion, touring etc, as in Frontiers who now have Journey, Toto, Thunder, and SPV who signed Magnum and many others looking to regenerate their careers, so let’s be thankful that rock is in safe hands once again!

These seem to be very dark times. What do you believe about this period, do you are optimistic or do you fear the future?

After two world wars in the last century you would think that people and government’s would learn to live with each other, but it seems that’s unlikely all the time. All we can hope for is a better future and cherish what we have in life right now. I’m sure we’ll all work it out one day and I’ll just stick to being in a band, not a politician!

A salute to your italian fans...
Hi everybody, I hope your enjoying the latest Bob album Spirit of Man and I’d like to thank you all for being such great friends of the music over the years. Try and come to see the band on tour soon and I hope the songs find a place in your heart!
Cheers Bob Catley


Reviews (in italian): Spirit Of Man; Immortal

Related artists: Magnum

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