ROBIN McAULEY INTERVIEW|
Thanks for taking my call Robin. So how ya doing?
I'm doing good. So how is Australia this morning?
A beautiful sunny day. Nice Saturday morning in summer, it's great.
You have the day off, and you're calling me - what a guy.
No get real! I'm pleased to catch up with you. Like I said the other day I've been a fan since Perfect Timing.
On no, now you're making me feel really old.
That's not that long ago! Maybe I should start back there at the beginning.
Where were you before MSG, Grand Prix right?
When I was in Grand Prix, ironically I was approached by Michael at that time. Grand Prix was playing in London and they came down to a show.
We were scheduled to go out on tour, I think with Sammy Hagar on the Standing Hampton tour. At the time I let it go and got some bad press out of it. 'Who does he think he is refusing this gig' & 'He mustn't know what's good for his career'. Blah blah blah....(That's Robin saying that, not me editing the interview!!)
After Grand Prix I was part of a project GMT with Brian Robertson. We cut some demos that were released without our knowledge in Germany. Anyway, to cut a long story short
I was introduced to a producer in Frankfurt and I went on to record a remake of Stairway To Heaven, a studio project called Far Corporation with Bobby Kimball from Toto.
It was a crazy thing.
I remember hearing it and thinking what a great version of Stairway to Heaven!
Well not everyone liked it, but in terms of Europe it sold a hell of a lot of records.
It was kinda fun.
It was so over the top - that version.
Yeah it was over the top. It wasn't our idea it was the producers idea.
But as a result of that Rudolph Schenker heard that on German radio and Michael was on the lookout for singers again. He was living in Germany and tracked me down.
You know I didn't want to take it on. But we took in some studio time and recorded a few songs and it turned out to be 7 years later.
But we didn't work enough 3 or 4 records in 7 years is hardly busting a gut.
Can you hang on a minute please. I am a very busy man, I have 11 month old twin boys.....
Robin leaves the phone - disposes of his twins and returns!....
Yeah we could have done a lot more work. We were here, we were there, we were changing management - blah blah blah.
That was kind of it we decided enough was enough. There's a friend of mine from Texas singing with Michael now.
Cool! Keith Slack?
Keith, yeah. You know Keith.
He's a good friend of mine.
What else....I've been doing some advertisements I have a national Buick Commercial. An Edgar Winter song. We did a remake of Freeride. And several other movie things - blah blah blah.
What ever keeps me going, I love the music.
MSG put out 3 very good studio albums. That was the most stable period of Michael's career. Why were you able to put up with him for so long?
I don't know. Michael is an individual who has his own ideas, truly a great player. Everyone has there ups and downs, there were some good times and some not so good. I think though, basically, we had the same goals. We liked the writing, we liked the songs. We thought we were knocking out some decent songs. We had a great lineup on all 3 albums and we just had some good people around us. You go though different management and different managers have different ideas. It wasn't always plain sailing from there. I think we lost the common goal at the end of the day. I hate that bullshit. It had just run its race.
Since you left, Michael hasn't recorded a record with the same singer twice.
I think the other singers have all had their own projects that's the problem. Don't quote me on that because it's none of my business really.
It was different with us, it was essentially Michael and myself and then the rest of the band. When we moved here to LA it changed a bit. It wasn't possible to have everyone in the same place at the same time. But we're all still here.
But I'm doing all the talking here!
Hey no no, that's great. Why did you move to LA?
Positive change of atmosphere. And to tour. We went out with Rush at one stage.
I love Rush, but they're not exactly the same style as MSG.
It was bit of a mismatch but a good tour anyway.
We then tried to then get into the second record as soon as possible and we did that here. It was never a commercial decision to move here (LA). It was purely based upon getting Andy Johns on the first record.
All of the Save Yourself record was written while I was back in Hanover. Michael was at that time between Hanover and I think Sweden he would send me music back and forth.
You guys got around then!!
Well you know we like to travel. We actually used to play Canada too. We used to have this thing where we played tennis in every city we were in. Wimbledon was not our goal however. Just didn't happen hahahaha.
Maybe one of my all time favourite unplugged albums was the one you did. MSG Unplugged Live. It has a great atmosphere - I love it.
It was one of my favorites, I believe it was one of the best things we did. We toured with it here, on and off, for 9 months. All of Europe, Japan and Korea. We did about 6 weeks in the States. We liked it because we thought there were a lot of other unplugged records out there and we felt it was a true unplugged album. There were no percussion, bass or drums. It was entirely live as it was. It was Michael and Spencer Sercombe, who we found in a band Shark Island and me.
Spencer actually found a girl in Germany when we were on tour. He married her and lives there now I think he's got a couple of kids.
WE ruined him!! hahahaha
Oh dear!! Great guitarist though.
Ditto - Super person
The hairdos on the back cover are slightly less scary than the first album.
Oh my god. You know what people say, let's take some fun shots we promise we won't use them... Hahaha
Don't believe a word!
Well I'll just give you a quote from Kerrang. I remember we toured at Wembley with Whitesnake and Kerrang had one of my most memorable quotes and it said: MSG hit the stage like a hairdressers nightmare. haha
Haha...for sure! You've recovered well.
Who's idea was that?!! I guess you should never say yes to too many things. What were we thinking?!! It was what it was, when it was.
What did you do after MSG then?
I took a little time out and regrouped. A couple of things locally in Texas, one with the guitarist Keith was involved with.
I wanted to do a Faces type thing. I was a big fan of the Faces. So we got together writing and we put a little band together. It was all original stuff. I just wanted to play some rock n roll. That's what we did for a year or so, played the clubs around here. The music industry being what it was and still is sometimes people would come out an listen and not quite get it. Like, if it's not grunge it's not music. Grunge kicked the music industries ass and kicked a few of us out of a job for a while. But change is a great thing.
I did a little bit of writing with a few people. I have a tune I recorded with Marc Ferrari that gets used for jingles all over the place. Then I heard that Frankie Sullivan was trying to get hold of me. So finally Frankie and I got together. Started kicking a few ideas around.
Curt Cuomo joined and off we went. We had a blast. Frankie played some awesome shit on that. I said that if anyone gets the chance to hear this it's pretty unique. They won't believe it's Frankie Sullivan playing.
Yeah, I think Frankie is a majorly underrated shredder!
Sounds like you are having a lot of fun in the studio. It's a pretty raw record.
It was like no frills, very little attached to the mixing aspect of it, we just finished the music and let's put it down and there's a few rough edges on it but there you go. We thought it sounds good enough. I don't know if anyone will ever hear it.
Tell me why did it take 5 years to get released?
We just didn't do anything with it. We kinda said maybe we'll get together and do a few more songs, but didn't and I decided I wanted to go study computer graphics, so I went off to school and took some time off. So I studied computer graphics...haha...because that's what I wanted to do and there you have it!
Then I just got a call - there's a label in Japan that's interested in releasing this and I thought that was hilarious. I said why the hell. They said cause they like it. The guys seems to like what I do and I guess it's better than to leave it sitting on the shelf.
So what else have you got in the can then?
I've got 2 or 3 other projects I'm in to and they are all very diverse. One of then is doing the Faces type of thing, elaborating on it a bit more. The other is a Celtic thing that I've wanted to do for a long time. It's been finding the right people who understand that whole tradition thing. Me being Irish of course. We've done a little writing, it's very traditional, very earthy. There's Irish bagpipes etc. There's one other thing that's very heavy acoustic based.
Well, you sound busy enough.
I'm not sure I love the industry but I sure love the music. And as long as the music makes me happy I'll do. When it stops doing it I'll stop doing it.
Well that' great Robin, thank you..
Ok Andrew. I'll shoot you a message sometime.
Thanks for your time.
God bless you mate