By Carl Begai
Purely by coincidence, this interview took place on October 2nd, 2012; two years to the day Liv Kristine’s former band Theatre Of Tragedy – she was fired in 2003 – played the final show of their career. It only dawned on me an hour or two before we met up on the Leaves’ Eyes / Firewind tour to discuss her new solo album, Libertine, and the irony wasn’t lost on her either, particularly since she’s found extra room in her heart for the Theatre over the last year-and-a-half. The focus was on Libertine, but it was interesting to learn that her Theatre Of Tragedy roots played a part in its creation.
For anyone that’s been following Liv’s career, it’s no secret or surprise that her solo albums are very different from what she does with Leaves’ Eyes. Libertine is no exception to this so-called rule.
“Most people know that this is my fourth solo album, and all four albums have been in the indie pop-rock vein somehow,” Liv begins. “The fans seem to accept that my solo albums are very different from each other and from Leaves’ Eyes. For me it’s been clear all the time that my solo stuff isn’t really for the diehard metal fans. It could be, but probably not. When Napalm Records released Libertine on the Napalm label and not on Black Rose, which is the sub-label that they promised they would release it on as well as the video for ‘Paris Paris’, the metal fans were the first ones to hear it. They said ‘We don’t need this.’ Of course they don’t; I understand that. So, there was an issue with the record company but that’s now been solved.”
In the end, however, the record company’s gaffe may have paid off. Any fallout from the metal community for getting slapped with a pop-oriented album released from the same realms as Alestorm, Grave Digger, Ahab and Battlelore has been minimal at best. Judging by widespread reactions, Libertine has become a guilty pleasure for the leather-and-loud set. Continue Reading
By Carl Begai
You have to respect Firewind guitarist Gus G. for remaining true to his original vision for the band even though he’s won a career-altering jackpot as Ozzy Osbourne’s right hand man. Granted, he launched the band in 1998 as a project and spearheaded the writing and recording of seven albums since then, but Gus wouldn’t be the first artist to abandon long term goals for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
To his credit, Gus isn’t stupid either. Having been a member of the Osbourne camp since 2009 and having recorded and toured for Ozzy’s 2010 album, Scream, that notoriety led to the decision to book Firewind’s first ever North American headlining tour for Fall 2011 in support of the Days Of Defiance record.
“It was an experience,” Gus laughs. “Times are tough everywhere, let’s face it, so I didn’t really expect to have sold out arenas or anything. We did small clubs, we did it on the back on an album that was a year old, but the reason we chose to do it at that time was to capitalize on the hype that I got and re-introduce the band. We wanted to go out there and see who our fans are and what was actually happening with Firewind in the US. I’ve got to tell you, things look positive. For a first headline tour we did really well and I think it can only grow from here.”
“Of course there were better shows than others as far as attendance, but that depends on the places you hit and the days that you hit them. And Canada was awesome; you guys love your heavy metal. We didn’t play Toronto, but we played Ottawa, which was one of the best shows of the tour. It was like a festival in a club with two floors and some local bands playing. It was fucking amazing. Montreal was great, and that’s always a good place for us. We even went out west and played Kelowna, British Columbia (laughs). That day was funny, and it was one of the misfortunes of the tour. We had some weird promoter that moved the show around a few times, and we ended up playing a bowling alley. But hey, what are you gonna do? (laughs)” Continue Reading
By Carl Begai
I recently caught up with keyboardist Adam Wakeman, the son of Yes keysman Rick Wakeman, to discuss his new prog metal band Headspace. Formed in 2006, the band – also featuring vocalist Damian Wilson, guitarist Pete Rinaldi, bassist Lee Pomeroy and drummer Richard Brook – issued their debut EP in 2007 and are now gearing up for the release of their first full length, I Am Anonymous. Wakeman also offered a look into his current status as a member of Ozzy Osbourne’s band and how that will affect his activities in promoting Headspace when the album in released.
“I would love nothing more, as I know the other guys would, than to dedicate 100% of our time to be out touring with Headspace and making more records. Part of the problem with not being 20 years old anymore is that we’ve got families, and mortgages to pay. We have to balance the time we allocate to each thing. Ozzy is going to be relatively busy this year, but it’s not going to take over the entire year which is good. We will have some time to promote Headspace.”
The easiest solution to the promo problem would be, of course, to nab a support slot on the next Ozzy tour, whenever that comes around.
“I think we could probably do a few shows,” Wakeman agrees, “but the reception we got when we did some support slots (in 2007) was quite funny. I asked Sharon (Osbourne / wife and manager) is we could do it and she asked me ‘Why would you want to be fourth on the bill? There’ll be nobody here.’ This was at Wembley Arena. I said ‘Yeah, but if there are 5,000 people in it’s the equivalent to us playing 20 club shows. We might as well get it out of the way all in one go…’ (laughs). It was good, but people weren’t really expecting us because we got on the bill quite late. So, when we walked on stage people thought we were Black Label Society. You could see the looks of confusion on the faces in the crowd (laughs).” Continue Reading