||VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH AL BARROW OF MAGNUM
Roger Berzerk Fauske
Roger Fauske interviewed Magnum's Al Barrow at Cambridge Rock on Sunday, which was also Roger's birthday.
You can read the full interview below and/or watch it in the video player at the bottom of this page.
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RF: I'm now joined by Bassist Al Barrow from Magnum. Good evening Al, I think it is evening anyway.
AB: Yes good evening.
RF: I think this is about your only UK gig for a while.
AB: Just for a bit yes. We've done a couple of gigs, one in Wales last week on a very cold, wet hilltop which was an experience. We've got this one then one in Sweden in a couple of weeks time. We're doing the new album after that so it's all shut down on the live side so we can concentrate on that.
RF: (looking at camera) So it's to late for you all to see them unless you can get here very quickly. Your chance has gone.
AB: It's gone, all gone.
RF: So to your new album – it's all about gardens :)
AB: No it's nothing to do with gardens. There is a lyric in the song that says garden.
RF: The title of the album.
AB: Escape from the Shadow Garden. It has the word garden in it but it its more than just a garden.
RF: Yes I interviewed Tony (Clarkin) about a month ago and he explained it all.
AB: It's a darker feel than just somebody's garden.
RF: Like a wall with a hidden gate in it
AB: There's a lot more, yes.
RF: And when are we looking at that, next year?
AB: Hopefully January 2014 followed by a UK and EU tour in March or April.
RF: Harry (James) has just walked in.
HJ: Hello good evening, how are we.
RF: Absolutely fine. (Harry waves at the camera).
RF: Right back to the bassist. I think its about a year since your last album.
AB: I can't remember exactly but that's the usual kind of setup. You do 18 months between releases generally. You do touring between and once we finish touring we go straight back into the studio.
RF: You follow the good old system!
AB: It's just a constant turnaround really. I mean as soon as we finish the album we're on the road and Tony's got his lyric pad out and he's already thinking of stuff so...
RF: He is fairly prolific. He always has been. And you have always done album, tour, album, tour.
AB: It's good to keep that way. We don't like to be away from the fans too long but at the same time you don't want to be out there too much so people get fed up.
RF: They will never get fed up of you lot!
AB: It gets more expensive to see bands these days. I mean once you have paid for your petrol, hotel, tickets and the beer prices, you are talking a lot of money so it's difficult for people to get to gigs and that's why we appreciate it when people return again and again.
RF: Yes, I went through a load of my old ticket stubs from the 80's, £2.50 and £3.50 for a gig. Of course beer was only 60p a pint then so in beer currency it is expensive now.
You have of course been with the band for a while now.
AB: I think 12 or 13 years. I did Hard Rain and when Magnum got pulled back together, it was just a normal situation to be in and I just assumed I would be there, it felt very natural.
RF: With the songwriting, how does that work with you?
AB: It's always been the same kind of formula. Tony's always been THE songwriter and he'll sit in his big garden shed with his studio in and he'll write probably 30 or 40 ideas songwise, very disjointed, chords and stuff and then he will bring it to the studio and put it into some kind of semblance, so guitar lines, choruses and then he'll work on that for a while.
Then we'll come in, play what we want, see what sticks and he'll say keep that or change that just a little bit. And he does bring us in, says he has this idea, what do we think and we'll say 'maybe change that' but generally it's all Tony.
RF: I remember Tony telling me that when they did Chase the Dragon, he had an acoustic guitar and worked stuff out and would have it in his head and go into the studio and tell the rest of the band his ideas and that is how it worked for that one.
AB: That's kind of how it used to work but now you can put it on a hard drive and take it to the studio.
RF: Yes it's easier now.
AB: I wouldn't say it is easier as such...
RF: As far as communication goes I mean.
AB: Yes it's a quicker process and these days when you have to pay for studio time, it pulls everything back to a reasonable amount.
RF: Yes that's true and these days you can do it without all being in the same place.
AB: Yes a lot of bands do that, they will send their guitar parts or vocals, but we don't do that. We all go into the studio that we have used for many years, and play together.
RF: Which of course is Madhat.
AB: Well it's called M2 now. We know it as Madhat but it is M2 now.
RF: Talking of hats, Tony still doesn't seem right without one sometimes!
AB: Well fashion has changed.
RF: Mine hasn't...
AB: Tony is a style guru.
RF: I should have paid more attention to him! The Swedish gig you are doing, its not actually Sweden Rock itself.
AB: No, I am not quite sure what it is, just another Swedish festival. I think its further down the coast, up or down. Its in Sweden!
RF: Of course you have actually played Sweden Rock though.
AB: Yes a little while back and hopefully we can play it again.
RF: So, next year Sweden Rock organisers... This year of course there was a certain band called Rush there. A hell of a festival.
AB: It was yes and we were asked to open for them. They wanted an acoustic opening act. We don't actually do an acoustic opening act so we had to decline. It would have been a dream come true for me.
RF: Yes that Geddy Lee is rather a good bassist.
AB: A dream come true for me.
RF: So everyone can look forward to seeing you next year. You will be very quiet until then but of course you are all on Facebook, well you are, Mark is, Harry is...
AB: Everybody can contact us through Facebook or the website. I relay it all to the guys anyway, so I send Tony an email.
RF: So you can all talk to them, they are very sociable people.
AB: We are, we are very sociable. We don't bite, well not too much.
RF: No well we won't go into that, that's another story. So tonight are you playing Sacred Hour?
AB: Quite possibly.
RF: I think you should as its my birthday.
AB: We'll see what we can do but don't kill us if we don't.
RF: I promise I'll be nice. And Bob's just walked in (Bob says hello from behind the camera)
AB: He's saving his voice.
RF: Anyway Al what can I say, it's been a pleasure as always.
AB: Pleasure, Thank you.
They didn't play Sacred Hour but I'll forgive them!
You can watch the interview here on MetalTalk.net TV.