Interview Rerelease

RISE AGAIN

Current Interview with the lead singer of “Ron Phillips BLACK ANGELS” – Mr. Ron Phillips. Using our press information and press pictures are free and allowed. Please send us samples. Commercial use is restricted forbidden.

Download:
interviewronphillips2009en.pdf [218 KB]

Tell us about the start of BLACK ANGELS and how the first album came into being?
Strangely enough the band departed from a marching band. In any case that’s where it all began. Pretty soon the band worked out a good reputation as a live act and got a singer from England. He only flew in for rehearsals and gigs at the band’s costs! But success proved them right – by a record deal with Bellaphon for three productions!!! Following the first album „Hell machine“, the singer changed and it was my turn.

You released four albums within a relatively short period of time and then stopped. Would you let us know how this went and how it came to an end?
Just as indicated: the band advanced very quickly. Right after publishing the first album, there were gigs and we went on tour with Mothers Finest, Alvin Lee Band, Ten Years After, etc. Following the release of the second album "Kickdown" this went on just as it had started: chart entry with the LP and single, tours as support act of Uriah Heep and Whitesnake, European release of “Kickdown” and then the climax: almost five weeks tour support for Nazareth in the UK. In addition we had TV gigs and produced two video clips.
After that, the band made every single mistake you can only think of. To give you just one example: we signed off the existing record company deal, because we were offered a MUUUCH better one from another company. Then it all went downhill very fast. Band members changed – and this is mostly the end of a good band. It was just the same with us...

Can you think of a funny or impressive incident during your productive time in the 80ies?
There are hundreds coming into my mind, but here is a very special one during the UK tour in 1983. We drove the tour with an eight-seated minibus, musicians and backline. Most of the time our English soundman was driving. At 3 o’clock at night, after driving through Manchester for several hours trying to find our hotel in vain, he slammed the break hard and left the bus in the middle of a crossing after a heavy fight with our tour manager. He simply left. The police finally found us and was ready to bring us to our hotel. So we looked for the soundman, got him in again and after only five hours of searching we reached our hotel!
Or the Whitesnake support 1983 in Basel. We were in our dressing rooms having a few simple softdrinks! Suddenly the door opened and David Coverdale came in with a cup of Icetea. After a short conversation he looked at our catering: "Is that all you got? If you like, you can come to our dressing room." And that’s what we did, helping ourselves with cool drinks and food which the band hadn’t even touched because they all went on stage directly from the hotel– except for Mr. Coverdale.....a real gentleman!!

Your music was and still is solid hardrock, driven by catchy compositions and the way you sing equally. Which bands did influence you and still do?
Basically the whole band loves the big players of melodic rock such as The Beatles, The Who, Kinks, Deep Purple, Whitesnake, Led Zeppelin and Wishbone Ash, but we also appreciate more recent stuff like Altar Bridge, Soundgarden and Nickelback.
However the band has no special favourite. But I do: my absolute vocal master and eternal ideal is Chris Farlowe!


Your voice is extremely strong and impressive. Isn’t it frustrating to see that other singers with less talent are more successful?
Not at all. Simply because I know that it means a lot of work and that you have to abandon a lot, except for the hype things. In the past I was offered many chances to continue “working on the big success“, but I prefered to live a calmer life with my family.

You were very popular in Switzerland where your last 80ies album "Broken Spell" was released almost exclusively. Do you think this is due to the closeness to the Krokus style?
Yes and no! Switzerland was and still is an excellent market for straight-forward rock music. No idea why. Look at China, Shakra, Tea, Crystal Ball etc. But we and Krokus always had many things in common. We also got along very well privately. I remember a monstrous party at our keyboarder’s house with Krokus…

How do you feel about the CD re-release of your albums in a collectors box after such a long time?
It was about time! And I’m looking forward to it a lot. The songs are really worth while to be made accessible again to fans in an adequate way. During the years so many people asked for a CD release. This proved to me that we have not been forgotten.

What music do you like most?
Sammy Hagar. And then right through rock history from the 60s up to now. There’s not much awesome music I think.
I feel sorry for everyone approaching music with blinders. Open your mind!!! Right now I adore Black Stone Cherry and In Extremo (whom we already supported).

What do you do today besides the BLACK ANGELS?
I sing with BOYSCOUT and I do some studio jobs (backings) in Switzerland. Until recently I was singing in a classic rock coverband. Besides that I am in the „medical field“. Well, unfortunately only rock’n roll does not feed the family …

Do you know something about the production of "Hell machine" from the other band members?
I don’t know much about it as I wasn’t part of the band at that time. It was recorded under direction of ex Krokus sound man Jürgen Nägeli.

With the album "Kickdown" you made your start with the Black Angels. How was studio work?
The production took place with mobile studio equipment at the house of keyboarder Harry Stone. It was very professional, with a long pre-production and almost five weeks recording. The producer was Martin Pearson (Krokus: Metal Rendezvous). It was my greatest studio recording ever. Very cool atmosphere.

How about the production of "Black And White"?
Black and White was originally meant as a pre-production. We also recorded the songs at Harry’s house with our own studio equipment. Our record company Bellaphon however liked the recordings so much that it was immediately released as „Black and White“.

Shortly after releasing "Broken Spell" you no longer existed, but what can you tell us about the production?
It was a Glenn Miller production. That’s really the man’s name!. He is known for amazing mastering of productions, for example for Gotthard. Broken Spell was a damn expensive production at that time. We spent four weeks in the studio and we tried many new sounds then, like drums Def Leppard style. Some things were great, some not. The album has a number of good songs and probably my best vocal performance up to then.

After 20 year you publish a new album „Changes“. What can you tell us about this production?
The official name of the album is´„Changes – the last decades“: The songs are reflecting our work during the last past year. You will find a lot of different grooves and interesting arrangements on this CD. The latest songs „On the rise“, „Rock the city – New version“ , „Song of glory“ and „Talking to angels“ shows straight the direction for our next production. We will celebrate good old fashion rock.

Remembering the tour with Nazareth, how was it?
Very exhausting, but exciting as it was my first big tour. The guys from Nazareth and the crew were cool, we got all the support we needed and we had good reactions on our gigs. After the London concert the New Musical Express wrote that the BLACK ANGELS would soon be headlining the Donnington Festival – well, almost did it …

It took a while until the band was formed as it is. How did you come to let the Black Angels fly again?
In the course of the years I often played Black Angels songs with different bands and lots of people asked for CDs or LPs. I always loved these songs and kept them alive during live sessions. At one point it came into my mind: why not give the fans more than just a few songs? Why not have a revival of the Black Angels? And here we are!

How about the members of the actual band. Why is Rudi the right man on the lead guitar?
I played with many fantastic guitar players during my time. Some were technically brilliant, others great entertainers, but no one was able to transmit emotions and strength like Rudi does. He brings the songs to life and at concerts he plays like if there was nothing else. There is no other for this position!

How about Mikel on the bass?
Mikel and I wanted to do something together for 20 years now, but there was always something coming in between. I always appreciated his groovy and powerful play and his way of arranging songs. We are a great team.

Marc, on the drums, is the youngest of the band. What about him?
Okay, one of us must be in charge of the girls.. just kidding! He is highly talented and he can just play everything. We are busy all the time to keep him from being lured away by other renowned bands. The coolest drummer I ever met, and he rocks like nuts. That’s why we call him Marc the "shark".

Why are you called the most punctual rock band?
Because we are! A the venue we are always half an hour ahead! We are probably afraid to miss something. Maybe the worldwide breakthrough or a wonderful catering?

What did you like most about England?
Definitely the guesthouses. Very British and just awesome. And the kindness of the fans. They often invited us at home. And then the police who saved our lives several times when we couldn’t find the venue.

Are you planning on touring England?
That’s not so easy but never say never. We’ll see. Just wait for the reactions and the CD sales.

What are your goals? Do you plan more live gigs or a new record?
First of all we want to prove our fans that we are back again live and that we are able to perform a stunning BLACK ANGELS show on stage. Our booking agency is busy planning concert dates. You will hear us live soon. There are new songs on the way and they will be recorded next year.

Classic rock is on the rise again. Can you guess why?
People are just fed up with all the plastic music. They want hand-made music full of emotions and melodies. There is no music style that could live up to these expectations better than classic rock. Wherever you go – all the melodic rock bands are coming back - Journey, Foreigner, Kansas, Kiss. Though they were never really gone, just not as successful and present in the media. This is what gives us the courage to start again and keep on rockin...

A final word for your old and new fans?
First of all thank you for remembering the Black Angels during all the years. All the mails and letters and talks during concerts made that clear to me. We produced this re-release of the Black Angels LPs together with Karthago records for you. On an extra CD we show you what the Black Angels music did during the last years. Hopefully you will have just as much fun as we had during the CD production. See you at our next gig. Hope you enjoy! Love, Ron Phillips.