Origin: Wolverhampton (England)
Dangerous music - 1985 (with lyrics)
- Robin George has worked with many more artists and projects than most realise, and during the ‘80s he built up a name for himself as a guitar player, musician, producer, songwriter and solo artist.
Born and raised in Wolverhampton, England, Robin began playing guitar at an early age. A plastic Beatles’ guitar Christmas present from his mom and dad set him on his way when he was eight years old, then his mum, recognising his talent, bought him an acoustic guitar which he later swapped for his first electric guitar, a Watkin’s Rapier 33. He took his guitar to junior school, family parties and at 14 he was asked to join his first band. Robin was expelled from Wolverhampton Boy’s Grammar School, where he was, allegedly, the first person to be expelled for 100 years. When he started his next school it was like a new lease of life; released from the power of the cane he was encouraged to embrace the power of music and became the guitar player in assemblies and school dances. He soon rebelled and was expelled again, however!
Robin began College but was invited to tour Europe, so he ditched education without a second thought and became a journey man. His dad, an engineer, told him to get a real job and if he lasted a year he would have his full support. He did it by working all day then driving to London at night to play and sing sessions in the legendary Denmark Street Studios. So, for his 21st birthday, his mom and dad bought him his beloved Gibson Les Paul Custom…he had proved himself.
After a tour of Denmark, Germany and Belgium, including US Army bases, Robin recorded his first single Too Late, featuring Dave Holland (Judas Priest), Pino Palladino (The Who) and Mo Birch (Culture Club, UB40) for the History album. Robin taught himself to engineer at this time; an influential moment in his career. The History album cover photo was taken by the great Finn Costello and featured as Kerrang’s front cover, issue 52. Finn also took the iconic cover photo for the Dangerous Music album with art and design by the renowned Andie Airfix, who also recently created the artwork for the LovePower & Peace sharing album.
Robin was working with Daniel Boone (Beautiful Sunday) who introduced Robin to the former Uriah Heep vocalist, David Byron, suggesting Robin mix Byron’s forthcoming single Every Inch of the Way. This he duly did, and they almost immediately formed The David Byron Band with Robin producing and playing guitar on the subsequent album ‘On the Rocks’. The pair worked well together, both playing and writing, and this work would sadly be David’s last recorded material.
1981 and 1982 saw Robin continue to work with Daniel Boone. He also toured and recorded with Roy Wood (The Move/ Wizzard /ELO), doing both live gigs and TV shows (bootlegs exist of this live work). It was at this point that Robin met Roy Cooke, his current press manager and web designer and he’s taken photos of Robin ever since. Robin also produced and sang backing vocals with Pat Hannon on Raymond Froggat’s Now and Then album. Robin engineered and recorded with Slade’s Noddy Holder as well as producing Diamond Head; the start of a long time association with the band. After co-producing the Climax demos for their next album with Pete Haycock, Pete invited Robin to join The Climax Blues Band, which he did for a short time, playing on their Sample and Hold album. He bought his BC Rich Bich 10 string from Pete, who had bought it from Slade, and this iconic guitar launched logos, album artwork, the Kerrang front cover and more. Robin still has the Bich in his guitar collection.
1983 proved just as busy, with Robin producing Witchfinder General’s Friends of Hell LP and Quartz too, before releasing the History 12" and his Go Down Fighting single on Arista. Ted Nugent would cover this song the following year.
Robin engineered a couple of singles for Tony Clarkin of Magnum which led to him joining Magnum for their highly successful 11th Hour tour of the UK.
1984 also saw Robin produce the Debut LP for Wrathchild’s Stakk Attack and also the beginning of the Dangerous Music project leading to a deal with Bronze Records who released his acclaimed debut solo album Dangerous Music in 1985 which launched the era of techno rock. This iconic album featured, amongst others, Dave Holland (Judas Priest), Mark Stanway (Magnum) and Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott; strengthening the bond between Robin and Phil who played bass on Showdown. Robin’s groundbreaking single, Heartline, charted worldwide.
Robin’s touring band in 1985 was Dangerous Music and featured ex Magnum drummer Kex Gorin, ex Wildlife bassist, Phil Soussan (later with Ozzy Osbourne), and keyboard players Mark Stanway and Alan Nelson. The band’s first live gig was Radio One's In Concert recorded at the BBC’s famous Paris Studios, opening for Phil Lynott’s Grand Slam.
During the Dangerous Music tour Robin guested live with Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, Simon Kerr (Free, Bad Company), Brian May (Queen) and The Who’s John Entwistle.
There were live sessions on the Tommy Vance Rock Show on Radio One; both Tommy and Alan Fluff Freeman made Heartline their record of the year, and many live TV appearances throughout Europe. Later they were joined by second guitarist Huw Lucas (ex Korea and Trouble) for a UK and European tour supporting Uli Jon Roth and REO Speedwagon with the last date being played at the legendary Hammersmith Odeon London.
Robin then worked with Stuart Copeland (The Police) which led to Stuart suggesting that he, Robin and Derek Holt (The Climax Blues Band) formed a band. Robin began writing with Derek Holt although this project never came to fruition.
1985 also saw Robin record Nineteen at London's famous Roundhouse Studios with Phil Lynott and Paul Hardcastle. Phil asked Robin and Brian Downey to reform Thin Lizzy. The reformed Thin Lizzy was showcased live on major TV show The Tube, in what became Phil's last appearance before his untimely passing.
Robin then formed Notorious with former Diamond Head singer, Sean Harris. The track The SWALK was Simon Bates’ record of the week for 2 consecutive weeks on Radio One. However, the ill-fated album was deleted shortly after release in America due to record company changes. However, the far superior original recordings are now released on Angel Air. Around the same time Robin was headhunted by Duran Duran, who were at the time at their peak, an offer he declined due to other commitments.
Production and writing work with Glenn Hughes (Black Sabbath/ Deep Purple) followed, initially at Robin’s studio then at Ridge Farm where Robin was lucky enough to duet on guitar with Mel Galley (Trapeze, Whitesnake) but the album never saw the light of day apart from the track Haunted, which featured in the film Highlander 2.
Robin then produced and co-wrote an album with Birmingham Metal band, Marshall Law. The Power Game album is now available on Angel Air. Robin then played several club dates with Asia; vocalist/bassist John Wetton, Carl Palmer, Phil Manzanera and Don Airey. Asia asked Robin to join the band but, again, other commitments prevented him from doing so. He was soon back touring, as Robin George’s World. He also began working with Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant; both recording and song writing. Robin’s song Red for Danger appears on Robert Plant’s Sixty-six to Timbuktu album.
At the same time Robin was writing with Uriah Heep’s Pete Goalby; their co-written song, Mona Lisa Smile has been recorded by Estrella, as well as writing with John Wetton (Asia, King Crimson) and Pete Wingfield (Eighteen with a Bullet).
Robin produced and played guitar on We’ve Got a Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna Use it’s last single, Your Loss, My Gain. He subsequently produced You, an album for Vix Fuzzbox which was released on Angel Air in 2011.
Robin then formed Life with Diamond Head singer, Nick Tart and toured heavily around the UK, recording the Cocoon album over the course of a year in Robin’s Dangerous Music Studio in Shropshire. The band gained enough of a reputation to be offered several deals which sadly never came to pass, and they also recorded a number of sessions for BBC Radio One and live performances for TV shows. The re-mastered album Cocoon which also showcases previously unheard tracks was released by Angel Air in April 2010.
During their career the band also featured Marshall Law drummer Lee Morris (Paradise Lost), bass player Charley Charlesworth, Hammond organist Fred Skidmore from Dexy’s Midnight Runners and ex Hooters keyboard player Bill Rudolph.
Robin George’s production work continued, and he continued recording other solo albums: Rock of Ageists, Crying Diamonds and Bluesongs.
George also teamed up with UFO bassist Pete Way. They struck up a friendship while co-producing then touring the Waysted album, Back from the Dead. They subsequently decided to form Damage Control. Joining them in the project were drummer Chris Slade (AC/DC, The Firm) and Spike (The Quireboys). They released two CD's, Damage Control and Raw. Both received many rave reviews. Raw has also been re-released by Angel Air Records.
Robin’s recent projects include producing the sharing project, LovePower and Peace, which features over sixty artists from the worlds of Rock, Blues, Soul and Pop who all donated their time and talents. 100% of all profits go directly to three worthwhile charities. A single, LovePower and Peace, was also released in aid of MacMillan’s Cancer Care. The project features, amongst others, members of Alice Cooper, AC/DC, UFO, Asia, Diamond Head, Motorhead, Uriah Heep, Duran Duran, Mott the Hoople, Marshall Law, the Climax Blues Band as well as solo artists Ruby Turner, Arthur Brown, Jaki Graham, Charlie George, Freya Copeland and Vix Fuzzbox.
Mark Sheppard (The Offering) has remixed tracks from the Robin George and Vix album You, featuring Joy Shannon (The Beauty Marks) as well as Pete Haycock (The Climax Blues Band) and Mel Collins (King Crimson). Robin also played guitar for The Medieval Babes and Joan ov Arc; the first British all girl X-Box band.
Robin had teamed up with Pete Haycock and the core members of the LovePower and Peace sharing album to reform a true supergroup. The band also features Mel Collins (The Rolling Stones/ Eric Clapton), Charlie Morgan (Elton John/ Kate Bush), Jacquie Williams (Sister Sledge/ M People) and Charlie Charlesworth (Dangerous Music). They have completed their superb new album, Broke Heart Blues which has been mixed by award winning sound engineer, Klaus Bohlmann.
The name of the band is Climax Blues. The CD is released on Angel Air records on March 9th. On April 8th, Dangerous Music 2 is also released. Produced by Gus Dudgeon, Robin and Daniel, it features Pino Palladino, Daniel Boone, Charlie Morgan and Chris Thompson.
Robin George returns to his power trio origins with the Dangerous Music album ‘Painful Kiss’.
This bedrock solid band features the powerhouse drums of Charlie Morgan (Elton John), the solid, melodic, thundering bass of Charley Charlesworth (Dangerous Music) and legendary cult guitar hero Robin George (Robert Plant, Phil Lynott, Thin Lizzy et al) guitars and vocals.
Star performances from special guests; Robin´s faithful friends the late great Pete Haycock (The Climax Blues Band) fabulous awe-inspiring slide guitar, Mel Collins (King Crimson) virtuoso, soaring saxophone and Jacquie Williams (Sister Sledge) superb soulful backing vocals.
The album features Robin´s original versions of many songs covered by household name artists over the years. A fascinating insight into Robin´s original writing as well as his inspired new songs.
Back to the roots in 2015 for Robin and the Dangerous Music band. -
- Robin George has worked with more artists and projects than most realise, and during the ‘80s he built up quite a name for himself as a musician, producer, songwriter and solo artist.
Robin was working with Daniel Boone (Beautiful Sunday) and introduced Robin to the former Uriah Heep vocalist David Byron, suggesting he mix Byron’s forthcoming single “Every Inch of the Way”. This he duly did, and they formed The David Byron Band with Robin producing and playing guitar on the subsequent album ‘On The Rocks’. The pair worked well together, both playing and writing, and this work would sadly be Byron’s last recorded material.
1981 and 1982 saw Robin continue to work with Daniel Boone, Robin also worked with Roy Wood doing both live gigs and TV shows (bootlegs exist of this live work), Raymond Froggat as well as producing Diamond Head, the start of a long time association with the band.
1983 proved just as busy, with Robin producing Witchfinder General’s ‘Friends Of Hell’ LP and Quartz too, before releasing the “History” 12? and his “Go Down Fighting” single on Arista. Ted Nugent would cover this song the following year.
In addition to all of this Robin Joined Magnum for their highly successful 11th Hour tour of the UK, The front cover of Kerrang! also beckoned, not bad for someone so relatively unknown at the time.
1984 also saw Robin produce the Debut LP for Wrathchild “Stakk Attack and also saw the beginning of the Dangerous Music project leading to a deal with Bronze records, this saw Robin George release his acclaimed debut solo album ‘Dangerous Music’ in 1985 which included, amongst others, Dave Holland, Mark Stanway and Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott.
Robin’s touring band in 1985 became known as Dangerous Music and featured ex Magnum drummer Kex Gorin, ex Wildlife bassist Phil Soussan (later of Ultimate Sin era Ozzy), and keyboard player Alan Nelson. The bands first live gig was Radio One’s “In Concert” recorded at the BBC’s famous Paris Studio’s, This was later followed by live sessions on the Tommy Vance Rock Show on Radio One, Later they were joined by second guitarist Huw Lucas (ex Korea and Trouble) for a UK and European tour supporting Uli Jon Roth and REO Speedwagon with the last date being played at the legendary Hammersmith Odeon London.
1985 also saw Robin record “Nineteen” at London’s famous Roundhouse studio’s with Phil And Paul Hardcastle, Phil, Robin and Brian Downey showcased this as the reformed Thin Lizzy on TV in what became Phil’s last appearance before his untimely passing.
Dangerous Music broke up shortly after, and Robin formed Notorious with former Diamond Head singer Sean Harris. The track “SWALK” was Simon Bates record of the week for 2 consecutive weeks on Radio one, The ill fated album was deleted shortly after release in America due to record company changes (an all too common story). However, the far superior original recordings are soon to be released.
Around the same time Robin was headhunted by Duran Duran, who were at the time at their peak, an offer he gracefully declined.
Production and writing work with Glenn Hughes and Marshall Law followed; the latter’s Power Game album is also available on Angel Air. Robin then played several club dates with former Asia vocalist/bassist John Wetton, Carl Palmer, Phil Manzanera and Don Airey (a kind of super group there), and was soon back touring, as Robin George’s World. before working with Zeppelin’s Robert Plant with both recording and song writing.
Robin produced an album for Vix (We’ve Got a Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna Use it) before forming his band ‘Life’ with singer Nick Tart.
Life toured heavily around the country, recording the Cocoon album over the course of a year in Robin’s Dangerous Music studio in Shropshire. The re-mastered album Cocoon which also showcases previously unheard tracks, is out on Angel Air in April 2010. The band gained enough of a reputation to be offered several deals which sadly never came off, and they also recorded a couple of sessions for Radio one and a live performance on The James Whale TV show.
During their career the band also featured Marshall Law drummer Lee Morris (later of Paradise Lost) bass player Charley Charlesworth , Hammond organist Fred Skidmore and ex Hooters keyboard player Bill Rudolph.
Robin George’s production work continued, including Diamond Head’s Diamond Nights in 2000, before recording other solo albums Rock of Ageists, Crying Diamonds and Bluesongs.
More recently George has teamed up with UFO bassist Pete Way, after striking up a friendship while producing a Waysted album, to form Damage Control, Joining them in the Damage Control project is drummer Chris Slade (AC/DC, The Firm et al) releasing two CD’s “Damage Control” and “Raw” both having received many rave reviews.
Raw has just been picked up and re-released by Angel Air Records.
Robin’s latest projects include the sharing project LovePower, which features over fifty artists from the worlds of Rock, Blues, Soul and Pop giving their time and talents completely free for good causes.
It features, amongst others, members of Diamond Head, Marshall Law, Motorhead, Uriah Heep, Duran Duran as well as Vix. -
- Interview with ROBIN GEORGE
– You say you’re going to the session now. What’s there on the cards?
I’ve just finished my new album. Either I will sell it myself over the Net or… I’ve been offered a couple of deals on it lately. So now I’m deciding what to do. You know about the David Byron project: I started taking orders for that in advance so that people across the world would get the album on the same day. A worldwide playback!
– It was news to me that there’s a Robin George fan club.
It’s just started up again because I sort of lost interest in the business for a while after being ripped off by record companies, so I went back into recording studios writing and producing. Since the Net started and people have been getting in touch with me, I’ve realized they still care about what I do and they remember me after all this time. So I started recording again, and put out an album in 2000 with Zoom Club Records, but they didn’t really get behind it, no marketing so…
– If you were to describe who is Robin George, what would you say?
I’m mostly a guitar player but also singer, songwriter and a producer. My music these days is bluesy sort of rock, it’s not as heavy as it was in the old days, because as you grow old your taste changes. It’s still loud guitars, but it’s not as hard rock as it was.
– How did you start doing music?
My first major deal – I don’t remember how old I was – was with Bronze Records: I had an album called "Dangerous Music" which did quite well all around the world. Unfortunately, just as things were looking really good, Bronze Records went bankrupt, went out of business, which was a great shame. From then on I worked with Robert Plant, Phil Lynott who’d reformed THIN LIZZY just before he died, Glenn Hughes, John Wetton and the guys from ASIA among others.
– What that was with Glenn Hughes?
It was in 1990, we did an album that never got released. It was finished but for some reason the company decided not to put the album out, I don’t know why.
– Was it the same album Glenn worked on with Joe Lynn Turner then?
No, it was basically an album that I was producing and playing on. Do you remember TRAPEZE, Glenn’s first band? Glenn was putting TRAPEZE back together to go out and promote the album, but it just didn’t work out.
– Does the band name CATHEDRAL mean anything to you? You worked with Jon Camp, and I heard he had this band, with Joe Lynn Turner.
(Pause.) Jon Camp, yeah? Jon was in my band when we were touring with the “Dangerous Music” album for a while. I met Jon when I was working with Roy Wood. He’s a really melodic bass player and a good guy, but I don’t know what music he was doing with Joe or the name of the band.
– Did you know Camp’s work with RENAISSANCE?
I was aware of it, but it wasn’t my style of music.
– To Byron now. Did you get in touch with David through Bronze connection?
David used to work with a guy called Pete Green, he was also known as Daniel Boon – he had written several hits that went to number one in the Sixties. I was working with Pete Green, too, he was co-writing with David at the time, and he recommended me as a producer and a guitar player. So I met up with David, we talked and we liked each other, so we eventually formed the band. The first time we met we wrote “Bad Girl” which is on the “Lost And Found” album. The first session with Pino Paladino playing bass and Pete Thompson on drums was a live session, which was great! We did “Bad Girl” which later was on the album “On The Rocks”. It was around then that we formed THE BYRON BAND, and the rest is history. While I was re-mastering the tapes I realized, I will never know why on earth the band didn’t get signed for the second album, because the songs are really good, there’s a real quality to it.
– From my point of view, “On The Rocks” is more guitar-based album, not vocal-based, and quite different from David’s previous works.
I know, but that’s what he wanted to do. And again, you’ll see on the writing demos, David was great; he was such a strong performer. They’re only demos but they’re really powerful, – David’s on fine form – and that’s the reason why I want people to listen to this stuff: because I’m so sick of hearing that David was washed up and going nowhere at that time. He had a lot of soul, a lot of soul.
– Looking at the set list of the live show that’s on “Lost And Found”, David didn’t sing old material, except for “July Morning”. Why there was no Byron’s solo material?
“July Morning” and “Sweet Lorraine”. He didn’t want to do anything else; he preferred what we were writing to what he’d done previously.
– Which means, he was the boss?
I used to arrive at David’s house with all the ideas for the chords and riffs. He’d sit down and start singing, writing lyrics as we went along, so it was really a partnership. If David had wanted to do his old songs, he would have done, and if I had wanted him to sing some of my songs, I’m sure he would have sung them as well. We really wanted to do what we were writing there and then.
– Why did the band break up?
I don’t know what happened. I made a solo deal with Arista towards the end of THE BYRON BAND, so I concentrated more on making my own music. We could have carried on with both situations, but I suppose, not having a deal, no funding meant no real way forward. David’s drinking was seen as a major problem, so I think he gained a reputation within the business of being unreliable. But he wasn’t, he was always where and when he should have been when we worked together
– And then you moved on to work with Phil Lynott?
When I was making the “Dangerous Music” album, Phil played on one track. Later, when he heard the final record, he rang me up and asked me to play guitar on a track of his called “Nineteen”. I did and we got on really well, so we started writing together, then, when we were promoting the single, I remember we were flying to Newcastle to do a TV show, with Brian Downey, LIZZY’S drummer. On the flight back Phil said, “Right, Robin? Right, Brian? Do you want to reform LIZZY?” And we said, “Yeah, why not? Definitely!” So we started work in Phil’s home studio during December , writing and recording. I remember we shook hands and I went home for Christmas, and then… I got a call from a radio station asking me to comment on Phil’s’ death: that’s how I found out that Phil had died.
– So that was to be THIN LIZZY, not GRAND SLAM?
No, THIN LIZZY. Phil and Brian Downey were obviously in the original band before and Phil wanted me as the guitar player to finalise the line-up. A dream come true!
– Was Mark Stanway involved, who worked with GRAND SLAM and who you worked with?
I’d known Mark for years and I worked with MAGNUM – I toured with them, so I knew Mark well before GRAND SLAM. But no, he wasn’t in THIN LIZZY. Anyway Phil, I think, had a reputation of being difficult to work with, but I really liked him as a man and as a good friend, just like David. Oh how many good guys die young!
– Don’t you feel that if any of those projects succeed, you’d be on totally different level now, in terms of popularity?
Oh yeah, in a way. I mean, in a way I have to be thankful I didn’t make it too big when I was young because… Once you reached the top, where’d you go? There’s nowhere left. I’ve seen it in people who made it very young, especially Phil and David – they climbed so high they fell off the edge! Unfortunately, I lost touch with David when I was touring with my band. So I’m really happy to be here where I am now, making the music I’m making and living my life.
– By the way, what about the project called LIFE?
My first solo project was called “Life”, and then I formed the band that we called LIFE in 1991, and we did one album.
– Was that then that you started working with Mark Stanway?
No, I worked with Dave Holland, Pete Wright and Terry Rowley from TRAPEZE. They were connected to Mark through his wife, Mo Birch, so Mark did a couple of gigs with us, just as friends, it wasn’t anything serious.
– So it wasn’t Phil who got you in touch with Mark?
The first time I met Phil properly was when I auditioned for LIZZY when John Snow [Snowy White or John Sykes. – DME] or somebody got the gig. Phil later told me he wanted me in then, but there was somebody in the band who didn’t – his name wasn’t mentioned but I knew who it was anyway. Then, when Mark mentioned to Phil that I was recording my album, Phil said, why not go down and do some tracks with him? So they came down to the studio, and Phil and Mark played on a track called… I’ve forgotten what it was called, but it’s on the album. I often saw Phil at gigs etcetera, and as I said, when he needed a guitar player for “Nineteen”, he called me.
– You mentioned Dave Holland from TRAPEZE. Is it through him that you knew Glenn Hughes?
No, I think, that was through record company connections. I don’t think Dave and Glenn were in touch at the time. It’s strange how people leave bands and go their separate ways.
– When you worked with Glenn, was he still an addict?
Glenn was still into it in a big way, yeah, but he’s clean now apparently. The first time I met Glenn was when he came to a gig that we were doing in “Dingwalls” club in London. He came backstage after the gig and we got on well, so later, when his record company asked me to produce and write the songs for his album, it happened. We recorded Glenn’s vocals at my house, he sang in the kitchen, and his performances still sound excellent to this day!
– There’s a bootleg of you playing with John Wetton. How that came about and who else was in the band?
In the band were Carl Palmer, Don Airey on keyboards, Phil Manzanera who did a couple of numbers, John and me. We did three nights for charity, which were filmed, and I’ve still got the soundtrack of the film. We played ASIA’s hits, and some of my tracks, which was good. John and Carl asked me to put an act together with them, but it didn’t work out in the end.
– Was it a part of some project?
John and I had been writing together, it just spontaneously happened, as we were preparing for the charity gigs. So, yes, it was a project. As I said we did some of my songs, some of their songs and a couple of covers, which was interesting.
– Could you be called ‘one hit wonder’?
Yeah, of course. Having said this, I should add it’s all because the companies let me down… or is it? (Laughs)
– Then there was a project called NOTORIOUS…
…With Sean from DIAMOND HEAD who years ago I produced a single for. I went to see Sean, and said, “OK, we’re both good at what we do. Why don’t we just get together to do a project and take the piss of the record companies for a change?” It was a very interesting combination for me and Sean, who wanted to be a bit poppier than he was in DIAMOND HEAD. We got paid very handsomely for that project but again, the record company for some reason pulled it. You know, so many people have made absolutely great records that didn’t go out. I still think that the original demos were far better than the final product.
– Do you still feel bitter about all those things that went wrong?
Oh no, not anymore. Time’s a great healer.
– And what you’re up to now?
The Byron project was totally finished and ready to go on January 1st, but for six months now I’ve been trying to get a record company interested in releasing it and to approach it from the right direction. Recently, a company director contacted me and said, “Why the hell don’t you do it yourself?” I said, “I’m a musician, not a businessman”. He sent me an e-mail saying, “Do this and this”. So it’s thanks to him that it’s now available, I had to be the quality control, mastering engineer and producer. I know it sounds as good as it can, and the reaction from David’s fans has been fantastic which makes it worthwhile.
– So that’s how you decided to do everything by yourself?
Until you realize how much record companies can get away with, you go into a deal expecting them to work really hard on your behalf. “Rock Of Ageists” is not my best album, but it’s got some very good songs on it and, given a chance, it could have done a lot better. OK, it’s not a world-changing album and it wasn’t meant to be, it was just me getting old songs out of my system and moving on with life. They are my versions of the songs Glenn and other people had performed. Since then I’ve written this new album, “Bluesongs”, that I’m very pleased with, I like it and hope everybody else will too. But I’m talking with record companies at the moment. With the David album I’ve done it myself with a lot of help from my friends. I’d rather pay somebody to post and package, and do the marketing side of things, to make sure that people who want to buy my record are able to for the right price. I don’t make music for myself, I make it for people to listen to and enjoy.
– What part of your life does belong to music?
Well, it’s big. I mean, I’m a very happily married man at last and I’ve got four kids, which is more important than anything to me. Music needs to be a hobby or a way of making a living, and for me it’s been both. Since the mid-Nineties, when I stopped bothering, as it were, because it was getting me nowhere I didn’t really miss it much, but suddenly it came back and the songs are bubbling inside me again. I don’t know where the inspiration comes from – but if an idea’s good enough I always remember it. If it’s not – I don’t. If it stays in my mind, it’s good enough for me!
– Are you going to pick up your career now and start anew?
Hopefully so! My most enjoyable job – and I’ve done a lot of different jobs to make a living – is making music. That’s what I do best. I spoke to Robert Plant the other day, and I said to him that I had all the equipment from my studio stolen, which was beautifully set up and absolutely what I worked for all of my life. And he’s like, “But you’re too young to stop!” And I said, “Yeah, but the point is, Robert, I’m happy now, I’m really having a good life”. And he said, “You mean, you don’t need to be a millionaire rock star to be happy?” That’s exactly what I mean: you don’t need to be that. He’s a prime example of that, he was very successful from a very early age and he’s handled it really well – so good luck to him!
– Do you meet Plant often?
No, that was the first we’ve spoken in years, but I did a lot of work with Robert just before his “Now And Zen” album. We did a lot of demos, and there were some great tracks, but for some reason he decided not to use them. But who knows, he might in the future.
– Is there still a chance to see Robin George a star?
Because of the Internet, I’ve realized I still have fans worldwide. Where I went wrong was that I thought people had forgotten me and who I am. A friend recently said. “Your fans don’t go away, they get older with you, they remember you and want to hear what your doing now”, which is very gratifying. That’s good to know, if he’s right.
– I presume there must be much more material in your archives besides that on the “Lost And Found” album, and not only by THE BYRON BAND.
I’ve got stuff from forever; I’ve got massive archives, because I would always be the guy who brought the tape recorder to a rehearsal or a gig. I had to edit the gig heavily, because it’s one night and of course, there are bits of singing out of tune, guitar going wrong and so on. But David was into a putting on a show, as we all were in those days, there was a lot of energy and power. I could have doubled the length of the Byron album, but I wanted people to hear David and the band at their best.
– Do you plan to release anything else, then?
Not from David. I don’t particularly want to live in the past. I felt so strongly about all those snide comments about David supposedly not able to perform, that he couldn’t sing anymore, that he was a drunk – yes, he was a drunk but he was still singing and he could still perform. He had an absolutely fabulous voice and a fantastic range. He was a good man and a good friend of mine, and I just wanted to put the record straight. When I managed to get hold of Gaby, David’s wife, and she agreed the project was a good idea, it was fantastic. I’m doing this because people deserve to hear it, that’s why he did it. If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be doing my music today, I doubt if anybody would listen to my records. (Laughs.) David’s name’s important, and people need to remember he was a good man and a great performer.
– But you should be pushing yourself forward anyway.
Yes, but I think once people hear the Byron album, they’re going to want to hear what I do because it’s an extension of that. I’m sure, some people will be interested to hear “Bluesongs” just because I worked with David.
– And now you take to the more bluesy direction, why?
No, it’s just called “Bluesongs”, and it’s an interesting album – it’s got rock stuff on it and blues as well, but it’s not, “di-ding di-ding di-ding”. It’s got a different sort of groove, I always use the same bass player, Charlie Charlesworth, and he plays almost reggae dub across the blues riffs, and it works a treat. So it’s not really a blues album.
– What music do you listen to these days?
I rarely listen to music these days, I spend all day making my own, so I don’t relax that way. If music’s good I like it, but there’s more crap around than good stuff, and usually the good stuff is heavily influenced by the past. If I want to hear a great album, it’s not generally something new. When I started, everybody listened to THE BEATLES or THE STONES, but for me it was THE BEATLES, because I was more into their songwriting and vocal harmonies. That was my major inspiration as a writer and performer.
As a guitarist, my inspiration wasn’t THE BEATLES, although my first guitar – a Christmas present from my parents when I was about eight – had their pictures on it, but blues players like Johnny Winter and Peter Green. I thought “Zeppelin I” was a fantastic album and I still do, but bands with great guitar players like CREAM, THE KINKS and, of course, Hendrix always interested me most. The early FLEETWOOD MAC stuff is fabulous – I was listening to it as a kid, at school, and thought, “Bloody hell! How does this man make a guitar sing like that?” Which is more the style of my playing now: it’s more about feeling. There was no particular influence. I somehow developed my own style, and this works against me in lot of ways (laughing), because I don’t sound like anybody else. I could still play a million notes at a million miles per minute, but these days I’d rather play one note that matters.