So back to the start of the Nelson legacy, at what point did you put the
Well, we actually started putting the band together when we met Bobby Rock.
Bobby was sitting behind us at the American Music Awards one year and he was sitting with the guys from the Vinnie Vincent Invasion, they were a bunch of nice dudes, but I guess that band was gonna break up in six months, Bobby wasn't aware of that. And we met him there and kinda just kept in touch and when it came time for us to put our band together, about 8 months later, Bobby was the first guy we called and basically everybody else was word of mouth. Joey Cathcart was a guy we played in high school bands with. Brett Garsed was a guy that our manager from Australia turned us on to. He (our manager) came back from a tour of Australia freaking out about this unknown guitar player he had just seen with John Farnham. So we got a video tape of Brett, we talked to him on the phone and we sent for him and he came over.
And the last person was Paul Murkovich. Paul was a guy that we had done some sessions with when we were doing the demos for the ATR record and he joined the band last.
Did you play much live or were you put together as a studio band?
No, actually we did not get to play live before we did that first record together. Matthew, myself and Marc Tanner, our co-producer and co-writer from that first record, really worked together to put that first album together and we put the band together right around the time we made the album and the first thing that we actually did as a unit was actually making the finished album together after we had done the demo work. So, basically we got thrown into the deep end right away. We made the record and spent the next year or so as a new unit kinda honing our chops before it went to radio. And fortunately for us, we were prepared when it was so successful as quickly as it was.
You were signed to Geffen thanks to John Kalodner. Can you take us
through the process of how you got signed up initially? Well sure I can. I think the signing to a major label deal is kinda the holy
grail for all up and coming artists at least it was that way about 10 years
ago when the LA music scene was like it was. We actually, instead of doing
the shotgun approach to getting signed, we focused on one label that we felt
was the best for us, and that was Geffen. Geffen was doing, in our opinion,
what we felt was the best quality work of the era. Working with bands like
Whitesnake and Aerosmith and Tesla, they did some really credible rock stuff
and we wanted to focus on that. And our managers at the time, had a contact
in John Kalodner. And unlike alot of the other A & R people, we felt that John was a good person to go to. Not because of his reputation but because he had been the one A & R guy that had really stuck with his label, he stayed there.
All these other guys were playing musical chairs and only staying with the label from 6 months to 2 years and we knew that we wanted a long-term career and we wanted a long-term relationship with an A & R person.
And so we focused on John. John was very difficult on us. We went through the courting process which included taking demos to him as we would write them, we pretty much had a meeting every month for a year. In that meeting we would play him 6 new songs. He'd trash every single one except 1 and basically after that year was up, we felt that we had enough material from the ones that he had kept to make the ATR record, but he still wasn't signing us.
And, to put it plainly, we were absolutely broke. So against the wishes of our managers and our attorneys and everybody who felt they had played the political game really well, Matthew and I needed to get signed, we needed to be officially in business and frankly we needed that advance to eat, so we went into John Kalodner's office with our acoustic guitars, told him we just needed ten minutes of his time, we sat him back and we played him a brand new song we had just written called 'I Can't Live Without Your Love & Affection'.
And it was just me and Matthew, acoustic. And John said, "fellas that's the first time I've seen that since the 60's and that's what I wanted to see from you guys. I wanted to see that you had the balls to stand up for yourselves and take your rightful place and you're gonna need them." And basically that's how we got signed. We got signed the next day.
Was there a lot of interest in you guys from other labels?
No, absolutely not. We got passed on by every other label in town.
How did you find the recording process of the debut album? Was it intimidating, exciting or were you guys seasoned veterans even at that stage?
Well, that's a really excellent question.
We weren't intimidated at all as a matter of fact. We were very used to the studio, having grown up around our father's bands and his recording process.
So the studio kinda felt like home to us.
And we had worked so hard making the demos for that first record that actually going into the studio was like a breath of fresh air and a real relief. I mean we weren't working around dodgy equipment in the studio we were actually working on a million dollar console with a real budget and stuff. And I have to hand it to Marc Tanner. He really did a great job in keeping us very focused in making an album that really had a focused original sound, it wasn't copying anything.
So hats off to Marc.
How much input did Geffen have into the recording process - as far as style and song selections?
Well, when you say Geffen, I am sure you are meaning John Kalodner. John was
really smart, he basically let us do our own thing. But most of John's work, he really believes in pre-production and once you get to the point that you are in the studio, it's kind of understood that you have already gone through a grueling process of sorting out what songs you are going to get to record.
What are the keepers, which are the weepers and which go into the scrap heap.
And you have already done months, if not years, of pre-production with John
where he has beaten you down to the point where you must stick up for yourself and you know that you have songs that did make a very rigorous cut process. And John was very smart. He hooked us up with a team that he believed in and then stepped back and let his faith and belief in the pre-production process give birth to a focused and finished record.
Again, I think the emphasis was really in pre-production and in the actual recording process they got out of our way.
You thanked quite a few Australians in the liner notes of the debut album
and Brett Garsed was a big part of your line then. When was the last time
you headed down under?
Unfortunately, it hasn't been for quite a long time. I think the last time I was over there was 6 or 7 years ago and my heart weeps for that. I love Australia. I loved having an Australian manager when we did.
Jeffrey Shoecraft was wonderful and he was from the Gold Coast.
And man, I have always considered Australia like my second home. That's why it wasn't farfetched at all to find our guitar player in Brett Garsed. Basically, I still feel to this day, that Brett is the best guitar player in the entire world. And I have been fortunate enough to play with some legendary guitar players but I think that Brett will go down in history as one of the finest guitar players that was ever born. He is really a gift to the planet.
The debut was a great success - what was the 6 months after it's release
It was absolutely fascinating. A lot of work went into the preparation.
Matthew and I were the ones that were really in charge of the sound, the style and the band that we put together, which really shaped the sound in the studio, working with Marc Tanner, our image was very important and we put that whole thing together. We rehearsed our band and basically it was very interesting.
We all felt that it was going to take several singles being released to give us some success. We had no way of knowing that the first single was going to go to number one. And I think what really paved the way for that was that Matthew and I got to go and host MTV as guest VJ's.
And we were on the show a couple of weeks and then our record was released and they sold out of the first 50,000 copies they had pressed in the first day.
And Geffen was fairly unprepared for that kind of response, but man, it was huge.
And it was wonderful, man it was a dream come true. But, literally in that first 6 months we went from zeros to heroes and we went from a couple of guys who could live a normal life to a whole group of guys who couldn't go out in public.
From memory, you were written off in a few quarters for your looks, rather than your music, which was quite accomplished. Was that frustrating and how do you counter that? Well, it was a little frustrating, but then again we always had a motto when we released that first record, "Love us or hate us, you were gonna know who we were". And we definitely achieved that outcome by the whole presentation of that first record. We combated that kind of negativity in the only way we could, which was having the absolute best rock n' roll band on the face of the planet at that time. And I will go on record to say that without a doubt we absolutely did. My group of guys, Brett, Paul, Bobby, Joey and the two of us, I knew that when we hit the stage every single night, there wasn't a band on the planet that could hold a candle to us. I know that sounds incredibly cocky but looking back on it, I can honestly say that we knew that whether or not we were out on stage with Bon Jovi, The Scorpions, Cinderella, Lynch Mob, all the different bands that we got to hang out with and work with, that we had the finest group of musicians and the finest stage show in the world.
I can't tell you how many times people that were in effect, speaking down on us
the loudest, walked away from that show kinda shaking their heads in wonder
and disbelief, going "man I had it all wrong." That was actually the most fun I had in that whole process was making believers out of the disbeliefs. I call it The Nelson Conversion Factor, but it was hard at work at the time.
Now this was the point where the honeymoon appeared to be over. Correct me if I am wrong at any point, but here's the story I know...There were considerable delays getting the second album released, but you really recorded 2 albums in that period. The first was rejected by Geffen if I heard correctly... The question...What vision did you have going back into the studio to do the second (Imaginator) album?
OK, lets start there. Basically we were a really hungry band. We had been
on tour together for 220 dates. We were seasoned, we were salty and we were
ready to prove our musicianship in the studio. We were also a little angry too because the whole music industry seemed to change, as well as our own label seemed to change. We were kinda like, even amongst the people at our label, the band that everyone loved to hate or hated to love. It was like one of those things. We basically had the idea for a concept record called 'Imaginator', that was really dark and brooding and angry and it was about the machine that is the media. That same machine that built us up and was also so ready to tear us down. And we weren't unique.
I mean it's been that way for countless musicians and entertainers in general in the past. So we went in the studio to make that record and we did it in isolation. And basically when we went to turn in the record, it scared the hell out of the people at Geffen, and basically they wanted to distance themselves from it as
quickly as possible. And we really wanted to release it. So basically we were given a choice and the choice was; either you go back in the studio and
make another record immediately, being given no additional funds, or you are
going to be dropped from the label. And we told them that we felt that they
should really release the Imaginator record. That we felt that was where
rock, especially hard rock, was going. They didn't believe us.
Unfortunately, 6 months later, the Metallica Black album came out and it was a
crossover success. Not only for the metal heads but for the pop guys too.
And the Imaginator record was really a big step in that direction. So who knows what would of happened if we had released that, but yes the honeymoon was definitely over.
Why the move to a tougher, more complex style?
What I think what I wanted to do was, I wanted to make a less pretentious record and really rely more heavily on the incredible talent that we had in the band that we were playing with every night. Also, there was a certain amount of proving ourselves we felt we needed to do at the time.
Why a concept album? Was this a reaction to prove you were capable of
achieving great depth in your writing and music?
Well, yeah, I suppose so too. But I think the concept subject matter was very close to our hearts and something we really wanted to make a comment on.
Which I guess the through-line and the theme was, don't rely on technology or on the media to make up your own mind for you, make up your own mind for yourself and make your own decisions on what you like to listen to, what you like see, what you like to do, how you are supposed to feel.
That was what the Imaginator record was really all about. It was speaking against the sort of lucidity that we all seem to get hypnotized into by relying on the media
to make up our tastes and our flavors of the minute for us so much.
If Kalodner had a problem with this album, or felt it was too uncommercial, why didn't you hear about it earlier in the process? Why did the album get completed before being shelved?
The album was completely completed. The album was completely finished before
we knew that Kalodner and the people at Geffen didn't want to release it.
It was a really interesting story of how that happened. The only thing that I can say is the truth and the truth is, that John didn't really care to get involved with the recording process. John was too busy making Aerosmith records.
And that was really where his heart had always been and where it was always gonna be. As evident by his move to Sony and him taking Aerosmith with him. Basically, they were in the studio and they were making the Pump album and John was in Vancouver the entire time and we were in Reno making our record and he never came to the studio. So basically what could we do?
We had two options... either not make the record or make the record the way
we envisioned it and hopefully he was going to like it at the end. And basically we had a big summit meeting at Geffen after the record was all done and John basically said he hated it. But it was alot of everybody all around.
I mean we had already spent our budget making a record that Geffen didn't want to release and I guess John had some questions to answer as to why... you are their A & R guy, why didn't you know about where this was going before this point and I guess, you know shit rolls downhill and I guess we kinda got buried in it for awhile. Well, I mean I suppose I have always been accused of being headstrong but I definitely have always had a vision for the kind of music I make and John is a very opinionated guy as well. He is very talented in his own way and very opinionated and alot of times John's constitution and my constitution really did not co-exist very smoothly. So that is the most political way I can answer that. Honestly, I think a lot of people dropped the ball on that one.
It was really unfortunate and that one situation really effectively killed Nelsons' career for five years.
The good news is that I will never let that happen again. What I should of done, is I should of taken the record that we were really proud of and should of found
another label. And we were given the option to do that and that is something we definitely should of done. There were other labels that were better and other people that we could of worked with that were better. I wouldn't of let my manager, at the time, go because he had done a good job of getting out first record out there working with very little help from the record company side of things. But, hey look man, woulda, coulda, shoulda. Everything happened for a reason and the one good thing that came out of it was the 'Because They Can' record which is very different, I'll give you that. But its a record that I am very, very proud of nowadays and just shows a different side of Matthew and Gunnar Nelson.
How did that leave you feeling?
Well, somewhat frustrated and helpless, to be honest with you. The way a
recording contract is structured, you know, the artists really have very little say, once they are signed, about their career. It's a shame, but it's true. Basically we were at the beck and call of the machine, so to speak, and we had to do everything that they said we had to do. So, I guess we made the next record, which was 'Because They Can' which was released and unfortunately Geffen had already been sold at that point.
Kalodner had left a week before the record was released and the powers that were still at Geffen, well they warned us before they released it, they were going to auto-flush the record. They weren't going to put any money into promoting it
or anything like that. Which is a real drag because the people that have heard that record come back and say "hey, it's different from ATR and it took too long to get out but it's a record we really like". So it's unfortunate because that was really good art and it deserved a better shot. So in the future, maybe people will get to hear it. But it left us frustrated and also I believe that everything in life is a test, if you look at it that way. And it was a just a test to our commitment and that's the way we looked at it.
If someone gives us lemons we are going to make lemonade and that's exactly
what we did. It was a very, very difficult process though.
So how long after this transpired did it take you to build the enthusiasm to record 'Because They Can'?
I call that period in my life, my dark years. I don't remember a whole lot of it, fortunately for me. I mean I never, thank God, never screwed up my life even more with any kind of substance abuse problems but I was in a relationship that was really horrible and one that I would like to forget about.
I kind of turned into a parody of myself. This typical ex-rock star dating a stripper kind of thing. It was just a nightmare and I was doing that and having problems with my label and feeling very disenfranchised because a lot of the artists that were representative of the 'confidence-rock era' which Matthew and I were definitely the bookends, excuse the pun, on the end of that era, were reviled by the new guard that came in which was really the 'insecurity-rock era' of Nirvana and all those other bands from Seattle.
Anybody who had a positive message or had a big stage presence or something
or even remotely represented that 'glam-rock' kind of thing, were publicly
attacked. And that was really the time for that too, so it was really tough.
I felt like not only the record company had turned on me and the public, the listening public had turned on me but deep down inside I knew I had turned on
myself. So it was a really difficult time for me.
That album seemed to sell OK, but disappeared pretty quickly. Had the record company basically decided to move on at that stage?
I think the record company hadn't let us in on the joke before the record was
released, which was really a drag. They had decided to move on years before
when we were still in the studio. Basically I think what happened is that
they didn't know how they were going to get out of paying us another advance,
or picking up another advance.
They pretty much stuck us in the studio again because they knew that was going to get rid of us for a couple of years. We were going to be back in creative land and weren't gonna be 'up their asses' so to speak. So I think that's what really happened and it's really kind of a shame 'cause I think, again, if they had put some effort and some money, more importantly, into promoting it, it could of really worked. I know the first single, 'All Shook Up', cracked the top 40 here, which is no small feat. I mean it went to 39 and it was definitely not what the first album was, but people really do worse than that. So, whose to say?
What did you think of the album after everything was said and done?
I thought it was a wonderful record.
I think it was a record that was definitely touches on where we come from musically and where we came from when we grew up around our father's Stone Canyon Band sound. That's very organic, more acoustic oriented. Which definitely worked for us. When Matthew and I were promoting the first record, a lot of the good work was done going to radio stations and just playing the two of us acoustically with our guitars and our voices.
And that kind of definitely eeked over into this new sound on the 'Because They Can' record. Basically what happened is we went 180 degrees in the opposite direction of 'Imaginator', which was very aggressive, very loud, very electric and very layered. We basically stripped away everything and tried to make the songs work for themselves. And that's basically what we were left with. I am very proud of this piece of work even though the process was very painful.
And then the label dropped you, is that correct?
Yes, that is absolutely correct. That was one of the best days of my life, let me explain.
There is only one thing worse than not having a record deal and that's having the wrong record deal. So that was a great day. Basically they decided not to work with us and we decided not to work with them and they have gone on to much success and I have gone on to much happiness. So it definitely worked out better for the both of us in the long run.
I saw in the liner notes on Imaginator...I unapologize to JD Kalodner.
Can I push it and ask for the story behind that?
Well, after all these years, I have to say this with a smile on my face, I have to credit John Kalodner for being the first record company guy to give me a shot in the industry. If it weren't for John, I would not of had any success at all. So I have to give John the credit for that.
But the story behind that is really the truth. And my experience in how painful telling the truth in this industry can sometimes be. What happened was, I had my
first interview, I think it was with Music Connection magazine or something like that, after the first record was released and was very successful, and the interviewer pissed me off. He said "well, John Kalodner totally fabricated you guys and it's been said that when you guys were signed at Geffen, you were nothing but a concept...is that true?" And what I said was "no, in fact that is not true. John was a very smart guy.
He definitely went through the song selection with us, but we wrote all the songs and when we were in the studio, he did the smartest thing by allowing us to do our own thing, he got out of our way. So John was very smart in that respect." Now, unfortunately, when I was on the road promoting, John read that and got
incredibly upset. He called my manager and he told my manager "I don't care
if they are selling 50,000 copies a week, unless I get a 10 page hand-written
apology from Gunnar, I am going to drop the band from the label." And John
was serious about this. So here was my dilemma... I either had to write a 10
page hand written apology to John, obviously a private one and all that albeit, or I had to kill my momentum and everything Matthew and I worked on our entire lives that was going so well at the time. It was the toughest decision I ever made. I literally was crying, pacing the room, so frustrated because all I had done was tell the truth. And you know, I didn't say anything to slight John, in any way. I just said, that was part of his genius, part of his genius was letting us do what we do. And, again, writing that letter of apology, which I ended up doing, after an entire weekend of fighting with myself over it.
Making the hardest decision of my life. Again, it was the toughest thing I have ever done. It was something that stayed with me for years and the whole experience of Imaginator was so awful, was so tough, when John and the people at Geffen rejected it and then made us go back in the studio to record 'Because They Can' and then John left for Sony the week before that record was released and abandoned us at Geffen.
Basically, when I finally did get to release the 'Imaginator' record, which is something that I wanted to do even if I had just made one copy of that record and finished it, just to say I had finished that album, that's all that I wanted to do. And I remember when I was making the credits... hey, in hindsight... should I have written, I unapologize John? Probably not, but to me it really represented taking my creative power back. And that's all I meant to do. No disrespect to John, but I just wanted to let him know that he didn't "break me" and it was unnecessary and I apologize for telling the truth.
Because I think that the most important thing in life is ones' search for the truth and championing the truth wherever it exists and unfortunately from the experience of writing that apology, I had felt that a part of me had died. Or at least been held hostage and I was letting it go, I was setting it free.
OK....so now you have your own label set up. Is this is why you guys want to go it alone from now on? Get off the record label merry go round?
Yeah, that's a good point. I think everything happens for a reason. Again, when you are given lemons, you should make lemonade with it. And I definitely know that the industry is changing, there is no sure-fire success formula. I think the most important thing is to do the music that you love and that's what we are looking at doing. And the best way for us to do that is to own our own label, which is Stone Canyon Records, and our own method of distribution, which is our website, www.TheNelsonBrothers.com, and do things ourselves.
And if we go back into business with a major label, we will do it as a partnership / joint venture and not an all-out buy out that is much more desperate and people don't need to do anymore.
Tell me how Victor Japan got involved and how they secured the release
of the album?
They got involved because, well basically we asked them to. We had the record that was completely done and what we wanted to do was license it to them and that's what we did. From now on, we are going to be funding the making of our own records and licensing them to foreign entities as well as domestic ones and maintaining the real estate for ourselves.
So back to that album...that sure was a little different to the debut. That opening track was like, yeah and who are these guys!
Yeah, that's absolutely true. Man, it's hard to talk about an album. You have to listen to it and see. But it was definitely a side to us.
What are your favorite tracks on that album?
Well, 'We Always Want What We Can't Get', was one of my favorites. Let's see
what else did I like.... I love 'She Gets Down', that's got some great attitude.
Even though it was only a Japanese release, I saw it on import everywhere, how did it sell compared with the worldwide released 'Because They Can'?
It actually sold very well. It almost went gold in Japan. And it continues to be sold through mail order and it's going to be very interesting to see what happens because we just did another distribution deal for our last four records. So we'll tell you how it goes.
So about now it was finally time to record a new album. Ignoring the release dates, what time frame was between 'Because...' and 'Silence Is Broken'?
I would say about a year, year and a half. That's about right. We try to get a new record there every 18 months.
I love this album. It was like the toughness of 'Imaginator', but with more easy going songs, or I mean ones not tied into a theme like they were on 'Imaginator'. What did you set to record for this album?
It was really kind of an experiment and it was kind of a transitional thing. It was the first, the first record we truly made for our individual label, for Stone Canyon Records. And I think if we were to do it again, I would do it with a different engineer and that's why it sounds as disjointed as it does. We were able to make another record called 'Life', which I think is a really good example of being very settled in our new direction. I think I will talk about that in a second.
That album has remained a Japanese only release, are there any plans to get that into other territories? Or will you be self-releasing these titles through Stone Canyon Records?
A combination of both. I definitely know that our manager is going to MIDEM
to do different territorial deals and so that is what we will be looking at.
And that brings us to present day! It's a pretty obvious question, but why set up your own label distribution?
Most major label contracts state that the label advance the band money, the
band, if they are successful, pays back the advance and then the label still
owns the band's masters.
How that translates... let me give you a good example. This is what that means in a sense. You go to the bank because you found a house that you want to build, OK, you get a loan from the bank, you then pay off your bank loan for your house, you pay off your mortgage and finally when that day comes, you have paid off your mortgage, the bank still owns your home.
That is the insanity that is still prevalent in most major label recording contracts today, that's just the way it's always been and no one has questioned that.
But I think fortunately, for some artists at least, we are getting into an era where some people are going to start questioning that. And that's why we decided to do that. Basically now, we build the house with our own money and then we rent out our house to different people and when the tenants want to change, we can either choose to keep the house for ourselves or rent it out to somebody else. That's what a distribution deal is. And that's what we've been doing.
So you have every intention of staying independent from this point on?
I think to a certain degree I think we will always, I am committed, we will always own our own masters, that is something that we will always do. But we will definitely be looking to doing joint ventures/partnership deals with major labels because no one can beat their PR machines. They definitely get the songs out there to the radio stations.
The site looks great... that is obviously working for you?
Yes! Please check it out and tell me what you think. www.TheNelsonBrothers.com, I am very proud of the site.
It was rumored that you guys were turning completely country, which I
guess isn't untrue, but you have covered both bases by recording a pop/rock album and a country album. That's awesome diversity!
Thank you very much. I think what we wanted to do was experiment with all
kinds of different music that we had grown up with and I think what you are going to see from this point on is very focused Nelson records that's going to incorporate the best elements of all the different things we experimented with. Like heavy metal, pop/rock, country, folk, you name it, it will all be in there, but it's going to sound distinctly Nelson and will definitely be arena/rock oriented.
Did you record them both at the same time or one after the other or a break in between to separate your heads from each one?
The 'Brother Harmony' record, which is the country record that you are referring to, basically started out as collection of record quality demos that we made to do a joint venture deal out of Nashville and it basically kind of all came together when we re-visited it.
You know nowadays, with technology, there is really no such thing as a demo, we really call it a master in progress. The 'Life' record however was done in partnership with JVC Victor in Japan and it was definitely something that really worked for us. We took the money from our Japanese distribution deal and put together a record of songs that was really a 'take no prisoners pop/rock album'. And that's what we set out to do and I think we definitely achieved that. I am
really proud of the 'Life' record.
I want to ask you about both, so let's start with the sensational 'Life' album. I think this is your best album yet. It has everything and the responses I have heard back so far agree.
I do believe wholeheartedly that 'Life' is the finest Nelson record to date.
What did you guys have in mind for this album?
This was an album that was made with the funding intact, so we had the resources. We had the time, we had the band that we wanted to record with and we also had the songs selected, first and foremost, around one outcome... and that was to make the finest Nelson pop/rock record we could possibly make. And that's what we did. We went in with no fear, yet with no record company suits looking over our shoulders and the result is a record that we are very, very proud of.
You should be! It's awesome. When did you start and finish work on it...writing and recording?
Well, we started writing for it about 18 months ago and we finished recording
it just 3 months later. It actually got recorded, start to finish, very quickly.
Which is not reflective of anything other than the fact that we really prepared for it.
It is such a simple pop album, yet the songs have a complexity and intensity that gives the album a real depth. Are you guys just getting better with age or did this time around things really just click?
Thank you for the compliments. I think it's a combination of both. I think
after you have done things often enough you learn to stay away from the pitfalls and you also learn to magnify the strengths. And from the feedback that we have gotten over the years, we know what our fans like and we also know what we enjoy playing. And that's what we incorporated into the making of the record.
The subject matter is very positive, its very powerful, its very simple and it's very Nelson. And it all kind of clicked when the players and the songs and the sounds came together on the same record.
Can I ask you about each track for a new section I am starting called
"Track By Track". There are a few thoughts in there from me too...
Sure, let's rock!
1. A Girl Like That... I am going on record to say that this song will be a
hit. I don't know when it's going to be hit, but this will be a hit. This
is one of those magical songs that really started out in a dream and it
wouldn't go away. It came back in a couple of dreams over a couple of
different nights and I basically got it to a point where Matthew and Mark
Collie could come in and help me out with the lyrics and tidy things up. Boy
is that a good song. I really enjoy playing it every night
2. I Would If You Want Me Too... It really has a great groove. It starts out
and it really makes me feel like a lot of the drumming of Kenny Aranoff who used to play with John Cougar, and it has that kind of feel.
It's a very simple pop/rock song.
3. Life... Why the cover tune? Great choice!
Well, thank you very much. That was actually a song that was written by our
father, Rick Nelson on his Rudy The Fifth record which was in 1970. Matthew
does an amazing job with the lead vocal, he sounds so much like our father.
And I recall recording it in the studio, it was effortless, it was one take
through the entire song for Matt and it was just a magical performance.
4. She Sheila... A cover again, again a perfect choice.
Thank you. That was a song that was originally written and recorded by a
band called The Producers. Which is a band from the American mid-west, when
I was going to high school, it was like one of my favorite bands. And unfortunately it never achieved a whole lot of commercial success but the guys were amazing and it was from the power pop era and I had always wanted to cover that song and I am glad we did.
5. Someone Like You....is one of my favorite songs on this record. This tune
was actually co-written with Matthew and Marc during our 'golden era'
together...while writing for the After The Rain debut. I think it's
positively beautiful. We actually let our recording band go all out with this
one...really 'be in the moment'. The vamp at the intro really shows the virtuosity of guitarist Tom Bukovac...you can also hear Marilyn Martin and Beth Hooker's background vocals perfectly...they are original background vocalists for Don Henley's touring band. They have a very particular sound.
What I love most about this particular recording is that it captures the
essence of the glory days of 'album tracks'...tracks that were meant not
just to be 3 minutes and 20 seconds long for radio airplay's sake... but
really move you and take you someplace. This song accomplishes that. It
really takes me to another land.
6. Everybody Cries Sometimes... This was written with Marc Tanner and
Matthew. It was a song that the three of us wrote together after we were
considering having Marc produce the Because They Can record. We wrote a total of six songs for that record, and this was one we decided to save for the
appropriate time. It's a fairly straight ahead song...but at the time we
didn't like Marc's production vision. I think that Matthew came up with a
stronger arrangement for it for this record.
7. Let's Talk About Me... A funny tune! Love it!
Thank you! That was originally written by Victoria Shaw, who we have done a
lot of co-writing with over the years. And she's a country writer. She wrote
'The River' for Garth Brooks and 'I Love The Way You Love Me' for John
Michael Montgomery. And she wrote that song that she was cutting for her
album and the first time I heard it I just told her... I said "Vic, I know
this is bold of me cause this is your song, but man, you are doing it all
wrong, you are totally crucifying this song, it's a great song and you are killing it." She said, "Well, what are you talking about?" And I said, with kind of a gleam in my eye, "Why don't you wait till we record it?" And we did and I will never forget the look on her face. Trust me, our version is 180 degrees different from what she originally did. Her thing was kind of a very typical, schmaltzy country sort of ballad thing and we turned it into an AC/DC song. So it's pretty cool, I love the way it turned out.
8. She Said She'd Be Mine... That is actually something that we co-wrote with
Marc Tanner and was from when we were writing for the 'Because They Can'
record. I hope you dig it. It's a very different song and a song that
actually stood the test of time, it kept on coming back in various forms
until we recorded it for the 'Life' record.
9. The Hunger... That's a song that we co-wrote with Taylor Rhodes, who has
written some great songs for Aerosmith. He's a great writer and song was
sonically and stylistically different from anything we had done before, you
can really hear Taylor's influences on it. But also you can hear in there too the influences of Nashville in the form of a little bit of mandolin. I also played a little bit of bizuki, which is an Irish instrument, on it as well. And Matthew did a really good job singing the verses as well.
10. Is That How It Is?... That's a song that we co-wrote with Russ Ballard,
who used to be in Argent. He wrote Hold Your Head Up and You Can Do Magic for America, he's an amazing writer. And we spent some time in England with Russ and his family before the ATR record. And that song was actually written when we went on a field trip of sorts with Russ in London and I saw people walking by a poor man in the street as if he wasn't even there, totally ignoring him which, and I don't mean to piss anybody off, is typically British, and I guess I did the typically un-American thing in sitting down next to the guy and starting a conversation and I wound up spending all day just sort of talking about life.
He turned out to be a fascinating person, the lyrics for the songs came from that. And we really didn't have a good opportunity to release it up until the 'Life' record. And I hope you like it too.
You have also recorded a country album... how's that going now that it
is in the marketplace?
No, its not in the market place yet. It's actually a collection of demos.
It's actually going to be in the marketplace in the next couple of months. So
listen out for it.
Is that Indie also? Yes it is.
Have you found fans buying both or are they separating? They are definitely buying both which is really attractive to me. I know for
myself I have a truly varied CD collection and I believe that fans listen to
a wide variety of music. And as long as it's good, it's good, ya know?
And what touring plans have you for summer?
Well, summer is past. Unfortunately, I took a little long to get back to you
on this Andrew. But basically, I do know that the definitive Rick Nelson box
set called 'Legacy' has just been released on Capitol. So you can check out
his website too... WWW.RickNelson.com and check out the album. It's 100
songs and it's the first time ever that both of the major labels that my
father had recorded for decided to get together and do one finished, focused
body of work. And I do know that as far as touring is concerned we are
planning on going out, not only in the United States, but also
internationally, hopefully Australia as well, promoting that too. So that's
what going to be going on, hopefully we are going to be touring our balls off
And I have to ask you, even at this early stage, what's next up for you
Well, we are working on a lot of stuff. Obviously promoting our father's box
set is really what we are going to be doing for the next 6 months. And I have
been working alot on his company. But as far as our own stuff, we are going
to be going into the studio making another original record, coming up in the
next couple of months. And looking again to doing a joint venture partnership deal with a major label for that. I am working on some solo stuff of my own and that's looking very encouraging. And we are also looking at doing a whole lot of touring. So again, hope to see you on the road.
Any thoughts on your next album?
Not really sure. It depends on which arrives first. I definitely know that I want to do an album of our hits, a collection album and I don't know what that means. I don't know if that means we can license the songs from the first two records from Geffen? Or if they won't allow us to do that then what I will probably end up doing is re-recording those things so at least we own the masters again.
And putting out one record of the 'best of Nelson' to date.
We will either be doing that or we will be doing an album of originals that we are doing in Nashville with our co-producer and he is also a guy that works with Mutt Lang quite a bit. It's a very interesting sound. So I will keep you informed and you can check out our website, www.TheNelsonBrothers.com, to see which comes out first.
Anything you would like to add?
Yes, thank you so much for your patience and to your readers for your
patience as well. Please write us, check in with us at the website and let us know if you want us to come down to Australia. And check out the new releases. And most importantly, please stay in touch. It's great with the Internet, we can really stay in closer contact with everybody out there. And we really feel like our fans are our family and we wanted to touch base with you.
So we look forward to seeing you on the web and seeing you on tour more
importantly and keep rockin!