Stan Bush: A great melodic talent shining again.
Stan Bush talks about hsi brand new killer solo album SHine, which proves to be some of his best work in years.
G'Day Stan, you may have read my full review of the them and be aware already that I view the album in very high regard. i think it's the best album since Every Beat Of My Heart.
The last album - Language Of The Heart seemed to be setting the path of future direction for you - more laid back, mature acoustic driven pop/rock. What prompted the change back to more guitar driven AOR on Shine?
First of all thanks for saying such nice things about the new album. I'm also very happy
with how it came out. Some of the last albums I did were a bit more thoughtful and
acoustic guitar-based. On this record, I got back to my rock roots and came up with
some great rock songs, more like the original Stan Bush & Barrage album. It's been a
while since I've heard any rock albums that made me smile. A lot of music out there has been kind of dark the last few years. This time we wrote more uptempo songs as well.
It really helps the live show to have rockin tracks to perform.
I love the punchier feel to this album and feel the songs are some of the strongest, most melodic friendly of your recent albums. Was the style of the album determined by the songs, or did you write with the style in mind?
My producer and co-writer, Curt Cuomo and I decided we wanted to write a great rock
album with fun, upbeat songs and killer ballads. The songs have really positive lyrics
about love and 'going for it' in life! Some of the other songs are about love, an important thing in the world these days! "Shine" is definitely a rock album!
The album features Curt (as you have said) with you again, how has your writing and work relationship with him developed?
This is the third album Curt and I have made together. When we collaborate, there's
always some kind of magic that happens. I think both of us we're very active as song-
writers during the glory days of rock in the eighties. We both love the big hooky chorus
and melodic, guitar-driven rock writing. Our taste in music is very similar also. Curt
wrote songs with members of Kiss and a few years back, I sang on a track he and
Paul Stanley had written. Although Curt and I had met a few times before, that was
when we started working together creatively.
And how did you score the great Tim Pierce to join on guitar. I think his work on the album is outstanding. Rick Springfield would do well to give him a call again!
Tim Pierce is truly amazing! I met him years ago when he played with Rick Springfield.
I remember seeing him back then and being blown away! We've kept in touch since.
Anyway he totally got into this album! A lot of the records he's been doing over the last
few years have been more pop, this time he got a chance to really play! We did the
guitar sessions a few days before Christmas, and it was a magical time. He came up
with some great stuff!
And on drums is Kenny Aronoff - another wonderful session guy. How did he get involved?
Curt is a good friends with Kenny Aronoff. He had used Kenny to play on Eddie Money's
last record, which Curt produced and other projects as well. When Curt called Kenny
and he was available to do the album with us, we knew we were going to be making
a world-class record! He's an unbelievable drummer!
Matt Bissonette on bass is another Rick Springfield contributor - his work is also invaluable to the album's feel. Where did he fit in?
I met Matt in the Rick Springfield days as well, and then later when he played with
David Lee Roth and Joe Satriani. Matt's a great rock bass player! Incredibly solid
and very musical. It was nice to be able to hand-pick the best of the best! I can't
imagine a better band to do an album with.
And last but not least - Stan Bush on lead vocals! You sound as strong as ever Stan. How do you rate your personal performance on this album over past releases?
Thanks. I'm happy with the lead vocals overall, especially considering how quickly
we did the album. Fortunately my voice held up well. Doing live gigs helps me keep
in shape vocally.
The production and sound quality on Shine is fantastic. But it is very simple - uncluttered if you will. How did you set about recording and mixing this album and do the results match the work put in?
Curt and I wrote all the songs in the fall and we started pre-production around the
beginning of December. We first did rough versions of the songs with simple program
drum track, scratch guitar, and rough vocals. Then we got Rob Jacobs a world-class
engineer (Eagles, Don Henley, U-2 Alanis Morisett), to record the album with us in
Curt's state-of-the-art SSL studio. We did drums first, then bass guitar, next were the
real guitars, keyboards, and then I did the final vocals. All the recording for the album
took about a month, and then about a week for mixing. The main reason the record
sounds so good is because Rob Jacobs is a wonderful engineer!
I'm particularly impressed with a few tracks on the second half of the album - Say It Ain't Love, Do It All Over and The Chance You Take. Do you have any favourite tracks from the new set of songs?
Thanks. I pretty much like all the songs. "Falling" is a great AOR track and I really
like "Have You Ever Believed". I like the message of "The Chance You Take". It says
live life all the way! You shouldn't care what people think, or worry that if you fall in
love, your heart will break. Then it says "Work like you don't need the money, life, life
is the chance you take." When we live life half way, we're setting ourselves up to fail.
Only by going for it, can we really live!
Any extra tracks recorded that weren't cut or included on the final album?
There was an eleventh track called "Don't Say it's Over", which is a bonus track for
the Japan release. It's a good song, but it didn't seem to fit with the others so we
left it off the European release on Frontiers.
How do you view your quite impressive back catalogue now? Do you have favourite albums amongst them all?
I still like my second album, "Stan Bush & Barrage", and I agree with you about
"Every Beat of My Heart", which has collaborations with Jonathan Cain and Jim
Vallance. Those two albums have some of my best songwriting.
You have written and recorded a great number of tracks that have never been released. What do you so with such tracks?
Good question. Once in a while a song I wrote a long time ago can be reworked or
maybe is right for another type of artist or maybe a film or something, but mostly
they just sit there on the shelf. I think we learn from everything we do. A lot of
weaker songs are just like bridges we have to cross to get to the good ones.
You also write for TV and movies - how have you found that process and for those that didn't know this - how successful would you rate your work in this area?
It's nice to get those cuts. Songwriting for movies and television can be very profitable.
I had some success with movie cuts like, "Transformers: The Movie", "Boogie Nights",
etc... Also "Capture the Dream" was featured in the '96 Olympics, and of course I
won an Emmy for a song I wrote for television. Even though I've been successful
as a songwriter in general, my main focus has been writing for myself as an artist.
Is there anyone you have worked with in your recording history that makes a particular impression on you to this day?
Jonathan Cain and Jim Vallance are two of the best (and most successful) songwriters
I've had the pleasure of writing with. I still like hearing the songs we came up with,
and as I said before, I've learned from some of the best!
What do partners like this bring to the table?
You probably heard the famous quote about genius being 99 percent hard work. It's
really true! While it is true that these guys are talented writers, the main difference is
that these guys work! We would spend 12 or 14 hours every day writing and recording.
If you want to end up with something great, you've gotta put some time and energy into
You have recorded for several labels over the years and I know you have definite views on labels and the industry as a whole - especially in America. How frustrating is the business side of the process?
The music business has been in a state of change lately in the U.S. with declining sales
partly related to downloading. The other reason is that radio hasn't been playing what
the fans want. They make programming decisions based on really young kids. Those of
us who grew up listening to rock make up a huge part of the market here, and fans will
buy music from great artists if the music industry will just wake up and realize it.
Where do you see the future of melodic rock/classic rock/AOR heading?
I predict a big resurgence of AOR/melodic rock, as the rock fans are able to find
music they like. The internet and alternative marketing approaches are helping to
break the monopoly the record industry and radio has had for decades. And as I
said before, melodic rock fans are going to be a big part of the future music sales
Stan, is there anything you would like to add?
Finally I'd like to say to all my fans, thanks for your support! I've been very fortunate
in my life to be able to make music for a living. I'm looking forward to hopefully coming
to Europe on tour when the record comes out! To find out more, visit LARECORDS.COM.
Many thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions!
Thank you as well!
All the best!