does recording your 7th studio album with all original members
compare to your first three albums?
John: This just feels right.
It took a long time to realize that a band really does need all
it’s original members to feel like the true band.
Tony: We had a great time
recording with Alan. There was a chemistry that you don’t
often get with bands that have been together for over 25 years.
We genuinely enjoyed working in the studio again. Although recording
our first three albums was exciting we have grown up and understand
each other a lot better.
I don’t know if I can make a direct comparison with the
older albums, all I can say is it’s great to be involved
John, do you feel your recent near death
battle with cancer has changed your approach to songwriting?
John: In a word, NO. Statistics
show that I am lucky to be alive. There’s not a day that
goes past where I take things for granted. My illness has made
me realize that I should work twice as hard towards making these
new songs special. I just don’t go about my work with the
past hanging over me. Everything I write is aimed at the future,
I don’t get miserable about what happened. How can I, Tony
is always there to make me laugh.
recording sessions are regarded as your best in years. What is
different this time around?
Although Alan came back mid way through the writing process his
injection of enthusiasm has lifted everyone’s focus to a
different level. We are already capturing the spontaneity of the
early years. Only last week we were in the studio putting drums
to a new track called ‘California Sun’. For some reason
we set about working on the end section first. Everyone was chipping
in with ideas and AJ just played everything on the button. Afterwards
he said it was the first time he’d recorded a song back
to front. It was all pretty inspirational. It’s great to
have him back where he belongs.
Tony never foil’s to amaze me. He has gone about his performance
on each new song like it was his first time in the studio. If
we’ve needed to try (and retry) melodies his attitude has
been faultless. Tony has always been a singer who performs at
two levels. First off it’s musical and secondly physical.
For anyone to still be hitting the seriously high notes required
(in his register) without difficulty is a tribute to the gift
he was born with. I’m just proud to be associated with a
singer who sounds different from the mainstream and who has the
ability to lift people’s emotions, (instead of sending them
John, Alan and I just wanted to make a great record for ourselves
and to prove to our fans that we never went away. The Music Industry
has changed but we haven’t!
I can only speak for myself so I would say having had a bit of
a ‘break’ there’s a new enthusiasm to the whole
Outfield is often compared to the Beatles and The Police. Is there
a conscious effort in your approach that validates the comparisons?
We were all inspired by the same 12 notes!! Tony has a voice that
gets compared to various high end singers, Steve Perry, Sting,
Jon Anderson, etc. There will always be unavoidable comparisons
to that degree. If people associate us in the same category as
the Beatles then we are humbled at such comparison. If anything,
our roots are possibly the same, albeit that we all came from
working class backgrounds. I think it’s fair to say that
we were all motivated by melodic rock music, which in our case
included The Beatles and many others.
I think comparisons are for others to make, we all have our heroes,
and I think those entire influences filter through without any
I wouldn’t say we made a conscious effort to sound like
our influential bands but it’s nice to be compared to “world
status” bands like “The Police” and “The
Beatles” We grew up listening to “The Beatles”
and they were a big part of our lives.
your songwriting contributions started with Voices of Babylon.
Have you brought songs to the table for the most recent sessions?
In our writing, John and I sometimes switch roles. I might play
guitars and John would play bass guitar. There is no ego, we work
as a team. I brought a lot of ideas with production and postproduction.
John is the main writer but between the three of us we create
a real band sound.
in comparison to the first three albums, how has The Outfield
evolved in your opinion?
I don’t worry myself about how we may or may not have evolved
(again I think others will make up their own minds). I think the
important thing is we give this album the best of our efforts.
There is ‘magic’
between the three of you musically, what do you attribute to this
Pie & mash!
The magic comes from growing up together. Coming from the same
background and having the same culture and same musical tastes
definitely has made us closer as a band. Alan and I went to the
same school and we formed our first school band. I would have
sung lead vocals but my guitar lead wasn’t long enough!!
John went to a school that was local to ours. We all rehearsed
in the same place and played in various bands together. Prior
to us getting a record contract in New York we played for 2 years
all over the UK while holding down day jobs. We were focused and
determined to be successful.
Again, this has a lot to do with our family backgrounds, ‘values’
and where we grew up in the East End of London. We’ve all
kept our feet on the ground and still value each other’s
friendship. Over the years we’ve all grown to respect each
other’s individual abilities. We have always been drawn
together by music.
drives you as a band to continue recording after an already successful
To try and show people that our music is our own DNA. It would
also be great to round of our careers as The Outfield. It’s
been a long journey; it’s a great feeling to be recording
these new songs together as a band again.
When you have a genuine love to create music and if you are lucky
enough to be in a great band there is no logical reason to stop.
We all love music and that’s enough really.
during your career you have drummed with Sir Paul McCartney, can
you elaborate on that experience?
I was just very lucky, right place-right time. I play with an
English artist called Mike Berry who was a contemporary of The
Beatles. (They even supported HIM at The Cavern in the early 60’s.).
So Mike did some shows for Paul and I was the drummer and on more
than one occasion he came on stage and did a few numbers with
us. (I couldn’t believe my luck!)
your voice has stood the test of time and you sound as good or
better as the early Outfield records. Do you find yourself having
to reach deeper in the studio as the years have gone by?
I am lucky to have a voice that is still strong. During “Play
Deep” I sang all the vocals with a cold. I find it quite
easy to sing in the studio. It’s harder on the road if you
can’t hear yourself and that’s when I burn out. Your
throat is a muscle, it has to be looked after so I try and take
care of myself.
such as Radiohead, seem to tie themselves into knots making albums.
How is the process with Outfield albums?
(Laughing) Tony does a lot of knitting!
I’m not aware how many knots any band ties themselves up
in; I’m too busy untying my own knots!
We sometimes tie ourselves in knots especially if a verse or chorus
isn’t working. One thing’s for sure, we never give
up. We might have the song written before it’s recorded
or we might record stuff as we go along and see what happens.
There is no format to our work.
after all these years of success and millions of records sold,
where do you find your inspiration for songs now?
I think it’s fair to say that a lot of our audience has
grown up with the band and would therefore not expect to hear
the same style of lyrics incorporated on Play Deep. I guess life
is a role model that has no specific blue print? Everyone has
there own experiences so it would be hard to connect with the
masses on every level (lyrically).
(melodically), it’s never difficult. I just love to be around
music. To this day it is still the driving force inside me. That
probably sounds cliché but I swear that nothing comes close
to the feeling of playing, writing and recording a new song.
In your opinion,
name the last great rock n roll band that had all the elements,
performance, songwriting and soul?
It’s hard to choose your favorite band. The Beatles were
the best band for songwriting, performance and soul. They had
all the elements and they appealed to all ages. McCartney and
Lennon, in my opinion, were the best songwriters of rock and pop
There are lots of great bands out there I couldn’t single
one out. It’s all subjective, and as someone said to me
“ there’s only two kinds of music – music you
like and music you don’t!”
For me, this is not quantifiable with just a name of a band? During
the mid eighties, a lot of executive people associated with the
music industry tried to keep things ‘in house’ by
pushing their sons and daughters into the frame. In all honesty,
I doubt the next John Lennon will be born out of academics or
people who earn their living in a ‘non artistic’ emporium.
songwriters and musicians are never asked to just ‘try this
out’……… Above all else, ‘Music’
is a true gift that drives and motivates. Even with rejection
a true musician always has a friend in his guitar (or chosen instrument).
It’s sad to say that, some of the best bands / artists (of
their day) were probably overlooked because they didn’t
fit the industry requisite (during that time).
band or artist who ‘made it’ during the past 50 years
and fits the description ‘real musicians’, have my
seal of approval. True muso’s will understand exactly what
At this point
of your career, do you miss playing live or are you content producing
music in the studio?
YES, I still miss the buzz of playing live. YES, I still love
writing and recording.
I do miss playing live. The feeling before you go on stage is
the most magical feeling in the world. Recording is good fun,
you tend to miss recording after playing shows for about 2 to
3 months so the grass is always greener.
I love both equally!
new album in terms of sound to this point?
We have the luxury of having a unique sound. The fact that we
have Alan drumming on this album makes John and myself very happy.
It will be the real deal and hope it makes people feel as good
about it as we do.
I’d say a cross between what you’d expect and what
you might want from The Outfield in 2010! I doubt we will let
anyone down with these new songs. It's a kinda' 'Pop Zeppelin'!
your favorite track from the current recording sessions?
At this point, this is a bitter / sweet question? Some of the
songs that were easy to write (but slightly harder to record)
might have become less favorable. I think we all have varied favorites
but I promise, the 14 songs we are now focusing on are all as
good as anything on the early albums.
My favorite track is “California Sun” at the moment
but as we are mixing that might change!
Thus far California Sunshine.
do you see the Outfield in terms of other big bands from your
We are lucky to have all three original members as most Bands
from our era either split up or not the original members. We were
also fortunate enough to tour with Journey in the 80’s with
Steve Perry. He has to be one of the best singers in rock music.
It’s great that Journey are still touring. It would be great
if Genesis and Pink Floyd toured again. They were very influential
to us. “The Outfield” has stood the test of time because
we have a genuine love of making music and work great as a team.
We were also lucky enough to have grown up in the mid 60’s
when the British invasion took America by storm. The “Rolling
Stones” have proved that they still sell out stadiums because
they were born in that same magical period as “The Beatles”.
How could these massive groups not influence you?
I don’t make comparisons to other bands really, I just try
to concentrate on what we’re doing.
It would be unfair to try and quantify that question with one
sweeping statement. I think what’s important is that we
are still making music for the right reasons. There was never
a moment in my mind where I thought it was time to just keep the
band going as a touring ‘cabaret’ act, albeit just
singing the same set of songs, (year in, year out). I’ve
always kept my (our) integrity in tact by telling anyone who wanted
to work with The Outfield that 50 dates and a tour bus was not
our idea of progression. If the Outfield is lucky enough to connect
with a fresh audience in 2010, I’d like to think it would
be down to the fact that we are still producing great new music,
FOR THE RIGHT REASONS!