WITH STAR ONE (italian version)
by Giancarlo Bolther
Star One was a clever project cause with this one you were able to play on a stage a lot of songs taken from Ayreon's albums too...
I am sure the people expected me to play Ayreon songs. Luckily I had about 6 albums to choose from. I chose the songs that were not so hard to play live, in general the more 'rocky' songs. I do think the Star One songs were easier to play though, and they went down very well in a live situation.
When did you realise that it was time to play on a stage your songs?
After I finished the Ambeon project. I was behind the computer for almost a year when I was working on that album, and after this I really felt like blowing off steam, plugging in my guitar and making some noise. That's how the Star One songs came into being. But because I ended up with various guestmusicians again, I first abandoned the idea of playing live. Until I got so many emails from fans, that I just had no choice, I had to give in! And also Inside Out asked me various times. And when I asked the musicians if they would be up for it, they all reacted very excited, so before I knew it the tour was arranged.
What did it feel like to be on tour again? Were you satisfied?
It was great to actually meet the fans, and put faces to the many people who bought my albums and wrote me emails. Because this tour was only 7 gigs, it was very spontanious from beginning to end. Also because none of the musicians knew eachother, most of them only met in the rehearsal room a couple of days before the first show. Yes, I am very satisfied about this tour. However, being somewhat of a hermit myself, I was happy to be home again with my cats and DVD's ;O)
Are you planning new tours?
No, not at the moment. First I want to work on the next Ayreon album for about a year. And I never look at the future or plan ahead, so who knows what will happen after that. This tour was so magic though, that I'm afraid the second time we won't be able to catch that same magic again on and off stage.
It seems to me that you haven't changed too much the live recordings in the studio...
I was amazed at how well we played. Especially for a couple of guys who aren't a steady band and who've only rehearsed a couple of times. I had the luck to play with the best rythmsection I could wish for.
I had to correct some technical problems though. We also had a lot of problems with the synchronisation of the film footage for the DVD.
The DVD of the concert is very funny and you have realized it with great care, which was the spirit that inspired you?
It was all very spontanious. We didn't plan anything and at the time of the gig we had no idea that there was going to be a DVD. As you can see we didn't even see the cameras. And also the fact that there were no extra lights and cameramen on stage adds to the atmosphere.
I've read that at the beginning you didn't want to record a live album, is it true? Why? Why have you changed your mind?
Because I wanted this tour to be fun for everyone, without any stress or nerves. When you know you're being filmed and recorded you play differently and you concentrate more on your playing then interacting with the audience and having fun. And also because the musicians never played together I never expected the band to be tight enough. Man, was I wrong...
Can you tell me more about the musicians that played with you in this tour?
They were no less than 10 musicians including myself, so to go into detail about every one of them would take me too long. Suffice to say that I had the pleasure of working with the best bunch in the whole world, both musically and personally.
I've liked a lot Peter Vink, (think, the same day i've got Live On Earth i've received two records from the early seventies with him in the line up, Q65 and Finch, and i was really surprised), he has got really a good pedigree!
Peter used to be a big star here in Holland in the 60's. I've been a fan of him and his bassplaying ever since the Finch days, and it was an honour to be able to work with him when I first did. He is a very funny guy, as well as a brilliant and powerful bassplayer. Sometimes I jokingly call him Chris Entwhistle, after Chris Squire (Yes) and John Entwhistle (Who), two of my and his favourite bassplayers. Peter and me have been friends for decades, and have worked together in countless projects. He plays the way I would like to play. If I wouldn't enjoy playing the bass myself so much, I'd be working with him constantly!
I was a bit disappointed because your tour didn't reach our country (Italy), what did happen?
Because I had so many guestmusicians, a big stage set-up and and an enormous crew this tour was very expensive. Therefore I could not include too many dates, the financial loss would have been too big. Because we sold out every gig we did in Holland and we sold a lot of merchandise in general I was a able to pay for this tour. Don't forget that is not a band, I am all alone and have to hire everyone and pay for everything on my own.
Do you believe that it will be possible to play in Italy in future?
Well, first of all as I said before I'm not sure if I will tour again. But if I will, I will surely try to include Italy. I've played there several times in the 80's with Vengeance and we always had a great time! Furthermore the prog and metal scene in Italy is excellent.
You have played a couple of shows (in the States and in Japan if i'm right) with Erik Norlander and Lana Lane, can you tell me about this experience?
It was great to be in Japan and to meet the many Japanese fans of my music! Many of them came to the gig with lots of my CD's and even LP's to sign. I'm sorry to say that there were some internal struggles though.
Why didn't you plan an european tour together, it would be fantastic?
We had such a big stage set-up we could not have a support band. We have been talking with Vanden Plas about this, but there just wasn't enough space for them. And besides, we played a long set and we needed a lot of time for the soundcheck with the 5 singers and their special in-ear monitor system, and there would have been little time for the support band to soundcheck and play.
How much time did you take to listen to other artists? In these days what are you listening to?
I try to listen to old and new music at least for an hour every day. I listen to all kinds of music, from prog to metal, and from folk to pop. As well as there are no limits in the music of Ayreon, there are practically no limits to my taste. Well okay, I hate rap and disco!
Are you working on the next Ayreon album? Can you tell us some anticipations?
Yes, I have started working on the next Ayreon and it's going very well. As usual the material is very varied, from one extreme into another. It's hard to say at the moment how it will end up eventually. I think it will be a bit more modern than the previous stuff, but of course I could be totally wrong in the end...
And with Ambeon is there something on the table?
Unfortunately I cannot reach Astrid, she seems to have disappeared of the face of the earth. I heard she left home and school. And besides, I wouldn't know how to find the time to work on another Ambeon. But having said that, I definitely will not rule out the possibility.
Or must we expect a totally new project?
Well, I don't think I want to confuse the fans even more with yet another project! On the other hand, with me anything can happen ;O)
Reviews (in italian): Space Metal; Live on Earth (CD); Live on Earth (DVD);
Victims of the Modern Age
Related Artists: Ayreon; Ambeon; Stream of Passion; Strange Hobby