Thunder: The Magnificent Album!
Danny Bowes talks about the very latest and most impressive Thunder album, The Magnificent Seventh, out now...
G'Day Danny, time again for a wonderful little interview....thanks in advance for your time.
Thunder is at it again - the album is out and looking like being every bit as successful as Shooting At The Sun and even more so. Are you a happy man?
Extremely happy. This LP is going down really well with fans both old and new, and it's going to sell a lot more than the last one, which tells me we must have been doing something right for the past 18 months.
It seems the band has slipped into a very comfortable pattern post-reformation. You have a very strong organization supporting the band, getting your releases into stores in the UK and the word out to fans via the Internet. How do you find working in this environment, as compared to the days on a major label?
I don't know about comfortable....
In the old days we never really knew what was happening (we thought we did), but we left a lot to our management and the record labels. Nowadays I'm driving everything along so I'm in the thick of it all the time, and it's very hard work, but it appears to be working so it's worth it. You're right, we've assembled a really good team and it's working well.
It seems the band truly listens to their fans, as Shooting started a path back to the band's best loved sound, and Magnificent Seventh is even heavier, more boisterous and is definitely the best album since those first two albums. Does the band have to work at achieving that fan appreciated sound and style, or is it just where you guys want to be right now?
We don't consciously plan the music around what fans want, but when you're as open as we are with meet and greets and website Q&As etc, I guess it does happen to a small extent. Luke simply writes the tunes and we smash them around until they sound right, but it's not a long drawn out process by any means. Let's face it by now we should know what we're doing. Strange thing, we knew this LP was going to go down well with fans, but we didn't think it would be as widely accepted as it has been. The reaction has been universally great, even in quarters that have been, shall we say "unkind", in the past.
How does the press in the UK treat you guys today - being veterans of the scene? I can pretty much see what coverage you are getting through Europe, but how is it in the homeland compared to the days of being pin-up boys for Kerrrang and the like?
Kerrang TV in the UK recently referred to us as rock legends, I guess that says it all really. We're all in our 40s, so to be a legend already is quite flattering I think (ha ha).
Let's talk about the new album a little...cracking lead single I must say. I Love You More Than Rock N Roll seems to me to be the perfect Thunder song - hard edged, tongue in cheek, big rocker. How has that track gone over live?
It went well from the first time we played it last summer in Germany. It's very catchy and very direct, easy to sing along with and good to dance to. What's not to like?
Your 17th Top 40 hit in the UK - that's quite something isn't it!
Yes, especially as we did it without a record label. This makes me feel very good. Loads of supposed "hot" bands can't achieve the same chart positions, and don't sell as many LPs either, so it shows having magazines plastering you all over the media doesn't always make the prophecy a self-fulfilling one. I suppose getting a hit record again after a good while proves that you don't have to be "pop" to be "popular".
The sentimental side of the and is showcased on the very smooth ballad I'm Dreaming Again - you are a natural crooner - what does it take to make a great ballad?
I'm not the one to ask. Luke is the writer, I just squawk away over the top of the band. I find it easy to do that, but I guess some of it comes from the fact that the songs are very good to sing, and written for my voice.
The tempo of this album is a noticeable lift over Shooting At The Sun - was that another intended step?
No, not really. Luke wrote the songs exclusively on electric guitar this time, rather than electric, acoustic and piano. Maybe that has something to do with it.
How did you get the great Russ Ballad involved in One Fatal Kiss?
Chris has worked with Russ for years. He mentioned to Chris that he was looking to write some rock songs again and Chris told me. I called Russ, Luke went over for a day, the song was the result. Luke said Russ was very nice and easy to work with.
I must ask as I always do - favourite tracks on the album?
The Pride makes me jump around the room, more than the others, so I guess that's my favourite today.
The USA remains an untapped commodity for you, despite a definite fan base there. It's obviously a difficult market to work, being so big, but does the band have any plans to tackle it with the new album?
Still talking to potential labels to work with, but so far no one has made me feel good. As you say it takes a lot of effort and commitment to have a go at the US, so until we find a good partner, I'd rather not do it.
How about touring plans - you'll do the UK obviously - what else is lined up for the upcoming summer?
Festivals in Europe, an Australian tour, Japanese dates, all being planned as I type.
Looking back - EMI Japan recently re-issued the Thunder back catalogue - any plans for an overhaul of the band's past releases in other territories?
No idea, you'd have to ask the labels.
You guys always record extra tracks - a nice box set of past b-sides and unreleased tracks might put a smile on fans faces!
Good idea, but you'd need to get all the labels to agree to do it. Good luck, I hope it works.
Any plans for another Bowes/Morley release after the work has been completed on this Thunder album?
We've not even discussed it, we're really incredibly busy satisfying the demand we've created with the new Thunder LP. Once it calms down a bit and we get 5 minutes to think, I dare say we'll get around to B&M again. I see no reason why not, we loved making the records before, it's purely a matter of time, or the lack of it...
Or perhaps a solo album at some stage? Or have you some other devious plan that is yet to be announced?
"We meet again Mr Bond" that kind of thing.... No, no devious plans I can think of, well none I can tell you about anyway, ha ha. I can't believe many people would be interested in a Danny Bowes solo LP. I'm not.
So leading from that - what's next for the band and yourself in the year ahead?
We're going to play live as much as we can, in front of as many people as we can, until we feel we can't do it any more. Then we'll have a little lie down for a month or 2. After that, we'll see....
Anything you would like to add Danny?
I have a fantastic collection of socks, all appear to be different, except for the fact that they all have holes in them.
Er, thanks for that! Many thanks for your time once again and take care for now....
Thanks for asking the questions.