The Road That Has No Turning...
an interview with RUSS BALLARD
by Robert Silverstein
After British invasions forerunners The Zombies recorded Odessey
And Oracle, that bands song writing team of Rod Argent and
Chris White joined forces with singer songwriter and guitar great
Russ Ballard and thus progressive rock legend Argent was born. Assisting
Argent and White in turning the 60s into the 70swith
his ace guitar playing and his singer-songwriter contributionsBallard
was a key element in Argent. Leaving Argent following their acclaimed
fourth album In Deep, Ballard went on to a prestigious solo
career as both musician and producer, especially in the E.U. where
he continues to extend his legacy. Flying under the mainstream music
media radar, in 2006 Ballard released his first new solo album of
new music in years. One of the great albums of the early 2000's,
the 13 track Book Of Love CD merges everything Ballard brings
to the tablegreat guitar playing, one of a kind vocals and fantastic
song writing that few artists attain. In 2008 when I heard the Book
Of Love CD, I suddenly remembered that one of Ballard's first
efforts was writing a song for The Shadows back in 1965! For this
interview with Robert Silverstein of MWE3.com, recorded live on February
10, 2009, Russ Ballard speaks about his famous career in the music
world, his guitar playing and some of the key tracks on the Book
MWE3: Yeah, great. Thanks for calling. Are you in England now?
RB: Yeah Im home yeah.
MWE3: I spoke to Melanie at your company.
RB: Shes lovely yeah.
MWE3: Yeah, were just reeling from this economic meltdown.
RB: Yeah, same here. Everybody, isnt it?
MWE3: 20th Century Guitar magazine is going through some rough times
now but Im busier than ever with my web site, MWE3.com and we
had over a million hits last year.
RB: Really? Thats amazing.
MWE3: And I was looking at your web site. God, theres so much
history on there.
RB: I really got to do another web site. Its crazy. Ive
had that for a couple of years and the fact is, it needs to be changed.
Yeah! Well, Ive been around a long time Robert! (laughter) I
cant do a thing about that. Ive been around a long time.
I think if youre around as long as Ive been around, theres
going to be some history there.
MWE3: The first time I saw you play was back in New York. You were
with Argent, out here on Long Island at My Fathers Place, the
famous concert place in Roslyn. I think in 1972? I think it was after
In Deep came out. Remember?
RB: Yeah! I played there on my own as well. I played there in 1976
MWE3: I remember you played with Argent at that show and after or
before the concert, I remember visiting your booth at that show and
speaking with you for a few minutes!
RB: Was that 72? 73 maybe.
MWE3: And then I saw Argent play with Pete Banks group Flash
up in Gaelic Park I think in the Bronx or Westchester?
RB: That was right. Yeah. And Jeff Beck was there wasnt he?
Yeah, Jeff Beck. That was 72. I remember that.
MWE3: I was blown away by the Book Of Love CD you made back
in 2007 or so. So many great songs on that album. It sounds like you
really got philosophical on the album.
RB: To be truthful, to be totally honest Ive been very philosophical
since...as long as I can remember. Its a part of my psyche.
Its how Ive always been. I was writing things that were
very philosophical going back to the...as long as I can remember!
With Argents second album I did Where Are We Going Wrong,
which was a very philosophical song. That was 1970, 71. (Sings)
Where are we going wrong! There must be a road, that we
can walk down... That was very philosophical. Then I did another
one on the same album, called Chained. Three Dog Night
recorded that. That was 1971. So I was always doing those kind of
tunes. God Gave Rock And Roll To You. I wrote that in
1973. I did Its Only Money... Remember that song?...
Its Only Money. (talks the song lyric) Spend
another pound, its time to buy another round. Keep it in your
head, you wont take it with you when youre dead. Bear
it in your mind, what goods a fortune left behind... So
I was always that way but its just grown within me. Theres
such a big part of me that... You see things in the world. The main
one would be the credit crunch and the whole thing with the global
bank problem. Its like greed. Its always been there. Its
part of the human makeup I think. Greed. But when you look at war
and you think of religion, I always think of the religious wars that
are going on and stuff. Theres christians fighting Christians,
christians fighting... Ive read so much about it, read so many
different philosophers and stuff. And I was really interested in it.
Its so much harder, and you only really reflect as a writer,
you reflect really what you write about, what you think about, your
day to to things. Its so much harder when you get older to keep
writing about dont go away from me, come back to me, go away
from me... The emotional things. So you reflect really what youre
thinking about. What youre writing about. I really wanted to
put down... I had the idea of turning this thing into a journey. The
journey of like being in the psychological mess. Because the human
condition is a mess. The human condition... I mean theres nothing
stable about human consciousness. It is a mess. One minute we can
be laughing, the next moment were crying, the next moment we
hit. Somebody speaks to us about something and were fighting.
Theres nothing stable about consciousness. And I wanted to sort
of write this down. Some of the things that were in my head. I thought
Id like to turn this into like a journey of being in sort of
darkness, and sort of each song being a signpost on the way to psychological
sort of fulfillment...or whatever. Or love. I mean people call it
love. I called it the Book Of Love cause I had a song
called the Book Of Love and I thought it fitted nicely
there. So the whole thing about, The priest, the monk and
the rabbi, those people who know the way, wont even listen to
what the other has to say... The idea of every emotional
thing, like trying to sort of go back to when...theres a song
on there, another song on the signpost called Like Father Like
Son. It was how I felt when I was 20 years old trying to communicate
with my father. And he was a good dad. But he never hugged me or really
cared for me. And I really wanted a hug. And when my dad died I started
to hug everybody. I wanted to put that down. Like Father Like
Son. That you hand down basically what you are. Say you want
to hand down good values, think about your life, think about how youre
living. You can only hand down your values. Why hand down someone
elses values? So I thought Id do this album and have each
song being a different signpost on the way there. It was quite a big
project! I must have written 30 songs and I was trying to slot the
right songs into the right places and the right signposts on the way.
MWE3: The first track Its My Life is a great way
to introduce the album. What a fantastic classic rock track.
RB: Yeah, well that was the idea. You see, my idea was to say what
would be a good opener would be (talks song lyric) Hello,
let me introduce myself. Im a weaver of the dream, as you sleep
I can help. If youre trying to find the one inside, Ill
be glad to be youre guide. That kind of idea. This
is my life, and Ill live the way I choose. This is my life,
come and stand inside my shoes. This is my life, come and share some
time with me. I look out my window and I see the craziness
of whats going on out there. Thats the idea. I wanted
to start and say, come and share some time. Come and listen
to my stories. We are so similar. This is another thing that bugs
me about humanity, about the humans that we are. We are so incredibly
similar. We think were different, cause we look in the
mirror and we kind of see a different image when we look in the mirror.
And have a different name so, Ah! Im different from you.
But Robert, you and I know were not separate from each other.
Within you, you have what I have within me. And we have what the African
guy has within him. Or the Russian guy has within him. There might
be different percentages of stuff and obviously stuff we bring into
the world. Stuff that were conditioned to in this world. But
were basically... You are your history, you are your culture,
you are your memory, you are your conditioning, you are your jealousy.
And I am that as well. We are that! And the Chinese girl... Thats
what I was trying to say in Just Like Me. Just
like me you get lonely, just like me you get... When you
suddenly speak to somebody, suddenly youre one on one with a
Chinese person that speaks really good English, and speaks with an
English accent! You know. And theres a lot of them around here.
And Ive become really friendly with them. And you say, God,
you suffer with that as well and god, thats just like me. You
have just the same problems as I have. And you think, This
is craziness. Just because I think Im a different religion,
which human beings have projected into the world. God didnt
say go and fight in my name. You know what Im saying? We choose
to do that. We chose to have a hierarchy and Jesus Christ said this,
and whatever. So okay, humans take something, apparently it makes
a lot of sense. Were here for such a short time. Love him, love
her. Because we arent separate from each other. Were the
same and were just living on this planet together. We take something
like the words of Jesus Christ and then we turned it a system and
its gone! We have stained glass windows in the churches and
then you have a hierarchy. And you wear these clothes and I bow down
to you. And it gets further and further away from what Jesus Christ
was saying. Its the same with all the religions. We turn them
into systems and then we start arguing within the systems and we have
days in the systems... You know the whole thing. Its a mess.
Its a psychological mess. You dont need an authority and
I dont need an authority. I dont need some charlatan telling
me how to live my life. I look at my life. I look at what happens
in the world. And I think I have a pretty good take on life, on whats
going on. I dont need an authority telling me how to live my
MWE3: Thats why were in this mess, Especially for the
past eight years we didnt take care of what we should have taken
RB: Well, there you go. Sometimes people get into power and they dont
know what to do once...usually, they dont know what to do when
they get there. The fact is, you get somebody that really wants to
become president of America or wants to become prime minister of England
and they dont even think about what you and I at the moment
are talking about. They have blind ambition to get somewhere. Blind
ambition to get there. So when they get there, they dont have
any change that they really want to make. They just want to do superficial
changes. Its the same wheel that goes around. Superficial changes.
At least Obama seems like hes testing different things. Theres
something about the man that seems like...I dont know. I (dont)
want him to be my authority, but if I have to have an authority, he
seems like hes on the right road.
MWE3: We made such a mess in this country over the past eight years.
Like you say, sometimes somebody becomes a big leader but they dont
know how to lead.
RB: If you dont have your own house in order, dont tell
me how to live! (laughter) You know what Im saying? They get
into power but they dont have their own houses in order. When
you look at Cheney and the hawks that were in that... How you have
the audacity to think you can run a country. Youre running the
world house and you cant think for yourself! You know? You dont
know how to live yourselves! And its crazy. But you dont
need an authority, I dont need an authority. And its sad.
You see the problem is...when you look at Israel or you look at the
Gaza strip. And one thing or another. Im different from you
cause Im a Muslim, and I think Im different from
you cause Im a Jew. And its a Papal mess! The fact
is youre human beings trying to live together. And until you
get that right youre not going to get it together for a thousand
years. I mean the Christian crusades, thats being handed down.
And as soon as Bush started talking about the crusade and this kind
of stuff... As you get older, you look at it and you (laughter) think
to yourself, Hes using the word...you shouldnt use
the word, theyre sensitive about that word. The fact is
youve got to talk to each other. Human beings and living on
this planet, youve got to speak to each other, not just go to
war. Lets speak to each other and try to at least sort this
out. And hug each other. Because were here for a limited amount
of time. Its not for you and me. But its for the children,
our children and your childrens children who have to live on
this planet. And we leave them this? We leave them this mess? Every
generation leaves this mess. At least they seem to leave a different
mess. Or its the same mess with a different name you know?
MWE3: It kind of diminishes what youre doing on this record
which is sort of like trying to bring people together.
RB: Thats exactly right! Thats why I wanted to do it.
It became stronger and stronger within me to say something about...
Its really for my children and my childrens children and
the children to come. If a few people can look at it and it makes
sense, then its done its job you know?
MWE3: Another Book Of Love song that really moved me was The
Road That Has No Turning which is really kind of philosophical.
RB: Yeah, it all leads back to you. Theres certain philosophical
phrases that stayed in my mind from when I was a kid and they lift
me. I guess I was born to be a writer because I loved phrases and
one of those phrases was...was it Gandhi or the Buddah?...I think
its Ghandi. It said you must be the change you want to
see in the world. People say, what difference can you
make as an individual? I dont know. It might not be much.
But the fact is while you can do it, I think you must try to be that
change you want to see in the world. But that really interested me
when I heard that phase you must be the change you want to see
in the world. Well, I mean Hitler made a difference. (laughter)
Whether it was right or wrong... (laughter) It made a difference.
Gandhi made a difference. Okay. Martin Luther King made a difference.
There are people that come... John Lennon made a difference. The Beatles
made a difference. You say, well what difference can I make?
What I think is that we can be a wave in the ocean. It might be a
little wave in the ocean but at least we can be the wave in the ocean
that goes on and on and maybe makes it a little smoother. But I love
philosophical things anyway. Its just that it happens to affect
MWE3: I think John Lennon would have loved the Book Of Love album.
RB: Thats nice of you. Its the kind of psyche. He was
into that kind of stuff I think. I dont think you can force
it. I was always thinking in that way. I guess most musicians have
a little sensitive side. Its one of those things that makes
you want to play, that makes you want to write, that makes you want
to get in a band. Theres a problem within a musicians
makeup and thats the thing...If I was really psychologically
secure I wouldnt want (laughter) to sort of make records or
be on the stage. And I think this goes with every musician. If youre
really psychologically secure, you dont need to get on the stage
and say, look at me everybody, look at me! (laughter)
MWE3: Well unless you have something really cool to say or play. Or
a great song...
RB: Thats right yeah! Its a way of expressing... You have
something within you. You want to express it. Its a way of...a
painter that is good with paints, can paint it and express himself.
When you get really good, you become a Picasso or whatever, that kind
of stuff. Its better than work Robert. Its better than
MWE3: Well I guess if music is in your blood, you cant stop
thinking about it.
RB: Im in my studio now. Im here now. I said to somebody,
was it yesterday... I was speaking to a friend of mine. I havent
spoken to him for many years, but he phoned me today and he hasnt
been too well. And he said, My son is playing guitar.
He said, Russ, I wouldnt waste your time but hes
so good. He said, Nobby Dalton heard him from The Kinks.
John 'Nobby' Dalton used to play bass in The Kinks. He had a 65th
birthday party last June I think it was. Ray Davies turned up and
Ray sang. I was gonna go but I had a migraine so I didnt go.
But apparently Steves son got up and played, he was 15, and
he said 'Ray said to me, Your kids a great player. Apparently
Steve said that he wants to do some...We have a thing in England,
you probably have a similar thing. Its called, you can do training
while youre still at school. You can train. He wants to be a
musician. So he said, Is there any chance of coming to sit in
in the studio and basically learn the studio? I said Yeah!
If he wants to come up and how long does he want to come for?
He said He wants to come from like the 6th of July to the 15th
of July. Roundabout that time. And I said to Steve, When
youre a musician, cause Ive never had another job,
but when youre a musician, you get up every day (and say) whats
that theyve got in store for me? Its wonderful.
Its not work. I can sort of play the piano, play the keyboards
in the studio here. Play the guitar, do some engineering, write a
song... Everyday! Its such a pleasure. I was in here six oclock
Friday or was it Saturday morning, six oclock. I had some ideas,
lying in bed and I kept waking up, putting the light on. Madness!
But this is how it is to me. And I got in at six oclock. I went
in to my sons studio. Hes got a studio here as well, and
went into his studio when he turned up about ten thirty and I spent
the rest of the day with him. Its a great thing to have.
MWE3: So for the Book Of Love album you basically did the whole
thing on your own? Did you have anybody playing with you on the album?
RB: For most of the album I had the rhythm section from Thunder. Theres
an English band called Thunder. Harry James on drums. Hes a
great drummer. And Chris Charles played bass. And I did the rest of
it. I did the guitar and the other stuff. I had some strings on there.
Chris Winter did some string arrangements for me. But I did most of
it myself because I added a few more tunes after about a year of recording.
I did those on my own. I did some drum programming and stuff on my
own. But I used Harry on drums, Harry James and Chris Charles on bass
for most of it.
MWE3: I would say youre one of the great underrated guitar players
RB: Well, the trouble is Robert, I havent really gone out there
and done very much since I left Argent. I left Argent in 1973, yknow
which is madness. The end of 73. Except for things Ive
done with Roger Daltrey. Ive gone out and played with Roger.
And I played with him for the last five years just playing these teenage
cancer charities, which has been great. I came to the States...do
you know I played the East Coast with Roger on his first tour in 1985.
He phoned me and said Would you play guitar? Im going
to do a tour of the East Coast. He did like ten gigs. Do you
remember when I came over with Roger? We did the Tower in Philadelphia.
We did someplace in New Jersey. We did Madison Sq. Gardens with Big
Country along as well. That was 1985. That was his Under A Raging
Moon tour with Roger Daltrey and friends. John Entwistle came
on and did Twist And Shout every night. John Lennons
son Julian came on at Madison Sq. Garden when we did Twist And
Shout. That was a good tour. Im keeping my hand in with
Roger. I used to go out with my brother and play but you know the
reason I got into music in the first place is I really wanted to be
in a band. And you forget, it wasnt to be a songwriter. It was
to be in a band, with my friends. I let my guitar playing slide a
little bit when I started to play more piano but Ive got back
into guitar playing. In the last 25 years Im playing a lot more
guitar. And yeah...Im playing probably better now than Ive
every played, now.
MWE3: Can you say something about the guitars youre playing
on the Book Of Love CD?
RB: Well Ive got my old Gibson. Ive got a Les Paul Heritage,
which I bought new. Its a copy of the old 50s. I dont
know if you know the Heritage? Its a Les Paul. And Im
quite fond of that because, I think if you have a Stratocaster and
a Les Paul youve got all your electric guitars covered then.
Ive got a Fender Strat I use for the cleaner things. Ive
got a Steinberger that Roger bought me which is very nice. Roger Daltrey
bought me as a gift. Which has got great pickups. But I dont
use that so often. I did use it a bit.
MWE3: Do you still have your first guitar, your Hofner Club 60?
RB: (laughter) I wish I had it now! That was beautiful. A beautiful
guitar. Yeah, Hofner Club 60. I went with my mother and we bought
that together and bought the amp. And that feeling of when you buy
a guitar and you sort of walk home with it. Wow! That was my first
electric you know. Just plugging the thing in and making a noises...It
MWE3: Im a big fan of The Shadows and I just recently remembered
that you wrote the song The Lost City that the Shads recorded
on their 1965 Sound Of The Shadows Lp. Its always been
one of my favorite mid 60s Shadows instrumental recordings.
I cant believe that was the first song you say you ever wrote!
RB: Yeah, Id never written a tune in my life before! Id
never been in the studio before. And I was 14, when I wrote that.
And I had a band. Actually Robert Henrit was on the demo. Robert Henrit
played with me on that and my brother was in the band. Had my brother,
Bernie Benson played bass. We went into a studio. We had Duster Meikle
singing then. Duster Meikle was in the group. Duster Meikle was in
the Unit 4 + 2. He was one of the singers in Unit 4 + 2. He was 18.
We went into a studio with under 50 pounds into a kitty and we booked
Regent Sound in Denmark Street in London. And we booked the studio
for a few hours. And we put down two tunes. And one of them was my
instrumental! They said, Lets do an original. Lets
do your instrumental. So we recorded that and sent it up to
the Shadows publisher. Well I didnt send it up...Ill tell
you who heard it. It was Cliff Richards brother in law who was
married to Donna. His name was Paul Stevens. And I played it to him
cause he lived near me. And he said, That would really
suit The Shadows. Do you want me to send it to the Shadows publishing
company? And I said, Yeah, Id like you to,' but
I didnt think Id hear anything more. And then I got a
phone call from Harry Waters...years later. (laughter) About four
years later. Id become professional then. And he phoned and
he said The Shadows have recorded it. Its on their latest
album! (laughter) But Id called it Atlantis.
My demo was called Atlantis and in between times theyd
recorded an instrumental called Atlantis. So Harry Waters
said, Theyve recorded it. And its come out really
well. Youre going to have to change the title cause theyve
already recorded a song called Atlantis. So I said, Yeah,
okay Ill think of a title. He said, Okay, think
of one. I said, Now? He said, Yeah.
I said, Okay uh, Lost City. (laughter) And...yeah!
I still get royalties from it now. I never realized that it sort of...its
like the real estate of the music industry, song writing. I just love
MWE3: That whole Sound Of The Shadows album was so great. We
missed The Shadows here in the States. Maybe the times werent
right for them in America in the early 60s and then the Beatles
hit by early 64 and transformed the whole country...literally.
RB: Right. That happened here Robert. Exactly the same. The Shadows
were the biggest band around. They were the biggest band here in England
and they really influenced a lot of guitar players here. I remember
seeing Jimmy Page in my local hall playing Man Of Mystery.
He was playing like Hank Marvin. It was with Neil Christian And The
Crusaders. And they were playing Man Of Mystery. So they
were playing The Shadows. All these bands started off playing Bert
Weeden and Hank Marvin. And I was the same. We all did. But Hank you
see, Hank learned his solos really from Americans. He was learning
solos from Cliff Gallup who was with Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps.
He was learning the solos of Chet Atkins, like in Problems
in the Everly Brothers. Hed been learning to bend strings and
stuff like this. As you know, we all stand on the shoulders of people
that came before us. (laughter) And it was the same with Hank. They
were a very big group. I know that when The Beatles went to Decca
here, and went for an audition at Decca. Dick Rowe said, Im
not going to sign them, he said to Brian Epstein, Im
not going to sign them because basically theres not going to
be another guitar band as big as the Shadows. (laughter)
MWE3: I didnt even hear about The Shadows till I moved to Sweden
in 1981. Thats how in the dark we were about them in the U.S.
RB: Hank and The Shadows became good friends of mine. And Tony Meehan,
who was in the band in the early days. Tony Meehan died three or four
years ago. And he phoned me out of the blue. I hadnt spoken
to Tony for twenty years. And he phoned me from out of the blue. He
said that his son Rory is playing. He said Im not in the
business Russ. I dont know whats going on. Im now
a psychologist but my son is playing great guitar, hes a great
singer. So he turned up here with his son and we met for lunch.
It was great to see Tony. He was such an influence on all the drummers
here as well. Before Brian Bennett. I know Brian Bennett played on
my track. He joined The Shadows after Tony but Tony was the guy really.
When he was 15 he was head and shoulders above all the drummers. Everybody...
Its a small island England. You know that. Its not a big
island and so all these bands were traveling around the country. So
we were all traveling around the country seeing each other. Its
not like the States where it takes months to get around there. Months
and months and then you go back and do the midwest and then (laughter)
you go back and do the west coast. Its very different here.
You can do a tour here in three weeks and cover Britain you know?
MWE3: I dont think theres any place in the universe that
has so much talent as England. It blows my mind. Thats why The
Shadows were so amazing, they had so many great nostalgic songs. And
I didnt even hear them till 1981 and hence your song The
Lost City as well...
RB: (laughter) Thats funny. So it was 1965 they recorded my
tune. 65. It was exciting. Id started to write then. I
started to write a few things. I was writing and to actually have
a thing recorded... I saw Bruce not long ago. Bruce is funny. Bruce
Welch is still a funny guy. He walked passed me and he looked at me
and said, Russ, its great to see someone of my era here.
(laughter) How are the royalties? (laughter) And he walked
passed me and smiled. How are the royalties?, that was
funny. But, yeah, happy days.
MWE3: I was so influenced by that Sound Of The Shadows album
that I named my record label after another song from that album called
Breakthru'. Theres a song called Breakthru'
on Sound Of The Shadows. Its actually track 12 written
by a fellow named Taggart. I have no idea who he is...
RB: I remember seeing that now. I remember that name on there, yeah
I remember that name. I remember (sings) A little bitty year, let
me down, spoiled my act as a clown... Do you remember that one?
Taggart yeah, I remember that, yeah. Its a very funny thing
but all these great tracks...talking about The Beatles, talking about
The Shadows...they were all done at Abbey Road. In the same studio!
Basically they were all in the same studio...all these these tracks
MWE3: Thats probably why the Beatles and Shadows mono and stereo
tracks had sort of a similar recording quality in the mix.
RB: Yeah. Norrie Paramor used to produce the Shads. I know Malcolm
Addey used to do their engineering. And he went to work at Bell Records
in New York. And he used to do all the Shadows stuff. He did mine
as well. And I spoke to Malcolm. I was with Adam Faith then. And we
were working at Abbey Road. And I saw Malcolm and I said, You
know The Shadows have recorded one of my songs, and I said,
Did you work on... He said, Yes! What tune did you
write? I said, It was called The Lost City.
I was 17 then you know? I said, Lost City. He went Oh
yeah! I remember it. You should make a lot of money out of that!
(laughter) He said I should make 400 pounds! This was funny, this
is true. You should make 400 pounds out of that. This
was a lot of money. To suddenly get a check when people were earning
seven seven pounds a week or eight pounds a week...to suddenly get
a check for 400 pounds. Its really sort of...God! I didnt
realize theres this kind of money in song writing.
MWE3: Im surprised you didnt write more for The Shadows.
Were there any other instrumentals that you wrote or how about movie
RB: I wrote a couple in the sixties, one was a bossa nova. We, The
Roulettes recorded it for a radio series, when we backed Adam Faith.
There was another that I wrote for the Shadows, however, I didn't
send it, I thought it could have been better. The only other things
of mine that were used in films, were, Voices in Miami
Vice, Free Me and Just A Dream Away for Roger
Daltrey, used in the film, McVicar. Also, God Gave Rock
and Roll To You was used in Bill and Teds Bogus Journey.
There might have been one or two others, I can't remember.
MWE3: So are you planning to do any more recordings after the Book
Of Love album?
RB: Yeah! Im writing all the time. Im working with my
son. Im doing quite a lot of things with him for other artists
and stuff. Ive been to Germany and we recorded a show out in
a place called Baden Baden. We recorded it and brought it back with
me. So I might mix that actually because... Its going to be
a live album. But the sound is a little small because the room...it
was done in a Baden Baden, sort of German radio station so its
not a very big room. But Im thinking about going back and doing
some more in Munich where I could play to like a couple thousand people
in Bavaria. I listened to this one here. We could mix this version
but its a bit small. The sound is bit small cause its
a small room. Its like a radio station room. Theyre a
little small. You need something thats a little bit bouncy,
a little bit live really. I might put that out but Im going
to do some gigs in the next couple of months in Germany. Im
going back out there cause its the only place I really
go and work. Henrit came with me last time. It was a great tour. It
was so good to play again. And the audiences are beautiful. Im
doing lots of songs they all know which is really good.
MWE3: I guess you have to play your classic rock songs from the Argent
days like God Gave Rock And Roll To You.
RB: I do that, Hold Your Head Up... theyre all singing
along. Its great. I just stop and let them sing, its wonderful.
MWE3: Your singing on the classic original Argent cuts is so powerful
RB: I think its quite a lot stronger now because Im in
the studio sort of doing things all the time. Ive learned how
to do it properly which is sort of like flying by the seat of my pants
really. (laughter) I spoke to Graham Bonnet the other day...talking
of singers. I spoke to Graham. Do you remember Graham Bonnett? He
sang for Rainbow. He sang Since Youve Been Gone.
MWE3: That was one of your songs...
RB: Yeah, hes got an amazing voice, a powerful voice. Hes
got a band back together. He was in a band with Steve Vai. Hes
asked me to write a song for his band. Hes got Alcatrazz back
together. Thats with Steve Vai. But he said, Id
love you to write us a tune. Were gonna make an album and will
you write us a tune? Hes usually got very good players
cause he had Yngwie Malmsteen as well in the band at one time.
So I did this tune and lasts about six and a half minutes. I said,
What kind of thing did you want? He said Well Id
like a prog-rock tune. So Ive written this song and sent
it to him. He loves it. He said its gonna be the first song
we record. It was great doing it, doing a progressive rock tune again
with different time signatures and things. And stretching out. It
MWE3: Itll be interesting to hear more stuff from you now. I
caught on to the Book Of Love album a little late. I wish Id
heard it last year...
RB: Well you know Robert, as long as its out there. I think
with this kind of record, as long as its out there and people
are... Its one of those albums that, its not meant to
be sort of out of the box kind of. Hopefully people will listen to
them and think it makes a lot of sense. As long as its got people
like you to spread the word and make waves in the ocean... (laughter)
MWE3: Speaking about prog-rock icons, you say you see Bob Henrit around.
How about Rod Argent? I know Rod Argent has been busy with The Zombies
reunion for the past few years.
RB: Yeah. Colin is just starting a tour. Hes doing a solo tour.
Hes got a compilation album just out and doing a solo tour of
the U.K. starting the next couple weeks. And then The Zombies are
going out and definitely playing at the Apollo in Hammersmith in April.
So theyre going out. Sometimes we go out for dinner and we all
get together. Were all still good friends you know? I did a
gig with The Zombies. Actually it was with Argent. And with Roger.
I got Roger to do a charity gig. Its a charity gig for Childline
at the O2 Arena in London. I got Lulu to do it as well. Cause
Ive been doing these charities with Roger and Lulu so I spoke
to them and said Howd you feel about a charity for Childline?
They both said yes. I ended up doing a couple songs with Roger and
I ended up doing Hold Your Head Up with Rod and Jim which
was really good. Possibly the best weve ever done (laughter)
actually. And then I did some Chipping Gum with Thunder.
And we had Ian Paice on the drums. Ian played drums. There were a
couple thousand kids there and I think we raised a bit for charity.
Which was good.
MWE3: Thanks for the opportunity to speak with you Russ. I wish I
could come over to England to meet you.
RB: If you come over here, just get in touch Ill take you for
a curry when you come over. If you dont like curry, Ill
take you for an Italian. Thanks mate, its my pleasure. All the
Thanks to Russ Ballard @ www.Russ-Ballard.com