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How 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.

Alan: 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 again.

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.

The recent recording sessions are regarded as your best in years. What is different this time around?

John: 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 into depression).

Tony: 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!

Alan: 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 thing.

The Outfield is often compared to the Beatles and The Police. Is there a conscious effort in your approach that validates the comparisons?

John: 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.

Alan: I think comparisons are for others to make, we all have our heroes, and I think those entire influences filter through without any conscious effort.

Tony: 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.

Tony, your songwriting contributions started with Voices of Babylon. Have you brought songs to the table for the most recent sessions?

Tony: 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.

Alan, in comparison to the first three albums, how has The Outfield evolved in your opinion?

Alan: 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 chemistry?

Alan: Pie & mash!

Tony: 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.

John: 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.

What drives you as a band to continue recording after an already successful multi-Platinum career?

John: 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.

Tony: 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.

Alan: We all love music and that’s enough really.

Alan, during your career you have drummed with Sir Paul McCartney, can you elaborate on that experience?

Alan: 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!)

Tony, 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?

Tony: 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.

Some bands such as Radiohead, seem to tie themselves into knots making albums. How is the process with Outfield albums?

John: (Laughing) Tony does a lot of knitting!

Alan: I’m not aware how many knots any band ties themselves up in; I’m too busy untying my own knots!

Tony: 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.

John, after all these years of success and millions of records sold, where do you find your inspiration for songs now?

John: 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).

Musically (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?

Tony: 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 music.

Alan: 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!”

John: 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.

Real 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).

Any 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 I mean!

At this point of your career, do you miss playing live or are you content producing music in the studio?

John: YES, I still miss the buzz of playing live. YES, I still love writing and recording.

Tony: 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.

Alan: I love both equally!

Describe the new album in terms of sound to this point?

Alan: Unfinished!

Tony: 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.

John: 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'!

What’s your favorite track from the current recording sessions?

John: 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.

Tony: My favorite track is “California Sun” at the moment but as we are mixing that might change!

Alan: Thus far California Sunshine.

How do you see the Outfield in terms of other big bands from your era?

Tony: 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?

Alan: I don’t make comparisons to other bands really, I just try to concentrate on what we’re doing.

John: 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!