Danny Bowes from 'Thunder' Interviewed by Telephone on 11th April, 2003 by Glenn Milligan, BA Hons. CS prior to the May UK Tour, 2003
Find out all what Danny had to say about 'The Monsters of Rock Tour, November, 2002'; the then up 'n' coming May 2003 dates; Thunder's new album 'Shooting at the Sun' and much more.
Glenn: Hi, it's Glenn from Metalliville.com
Danny: How you doin' mate, you alright.
Glenn: Excellent mate. I came to see you when you played the Monsters of Rock Gig at Sheffield.
Danny: Oh, did ya?
Glenn: Yeah and I was rather impressed with that voice of yours.
Danny: I can only apologise (he says jokingly).
Glenn: Well Alice Cooper was good but you stole the show to be honest.
Danny: Thanks very much.
Glenn: What made you decide to get back as 'Thunder'?
Danny: To be perfectly honest with you - as with all things 'Thunder' it was all a bit of a cock-up. I mean it usually is. Basically I had the idea of putting together basically Donnington inside to like a touring event. I took the idea after having thought about it for ages, I took it to Clearchannel, the Promoters, and it was very much of a kind of business idea for me. I mean, I've been very busy behind the scenes for the last few years.
I've always been interested in the way things work within the music industry certainly for touring and the recording point of view and anyway, I took the idea to Clearchannel and they were very interested in the whole thing. We vetted it about for several occasions before we actually finally came up with the way to do it - bearing in mind logistically it's quite hard to get a lot of bands on between 6 O' Clock and 11 O' Clock so we had to kind of go through that.
After having done it all, Clearchannel said that they were interested in the idea of doing it but obviously it was an expensive show to put on and they didn't know for sure it would work and that "we really could do with some kind of insurance policy here, so would you consider the possibility of Thunder getting back together' and it absolutely took me completely by surprise. When we drew a line under Thunder in May 2000 I was very much under the opinion that that was it. I had been very busy doing loads of other things but I felt duty down to take it to the band and of course having taken it to the band they basically bit my arm off and said, 'Right - when can we do it?' I mean initially my thought was we'll just go in, we'll do these shows, we'll take the money and run - you know, have a nice Christmas and the baby will get a new hat. But of course, it didn't work like that.
I was a little bit that fans would feel cheated by the whole thing - literally just getting back together for the money and then Luke came up with the idea that maybe we should do a record.
I was very nervous about that because I thought that it was even more so, you know, much more alarming to the fans, so it started off as an E.P. and then it became an L.P. and the next thing you know we are like releasing it ourselves rather than going down the road of working with record companies again - so like I say, it sort of snaowballed out of control.
Glenn: Got ya, that's good - you know I was thinking, 'was it the Bowes/Morley' thing - working with Luke again?'
Danny: Well not really. I mean you have to bear in mind that when you are in a band like Thunder for over ten years - we are all good mates - it's not like any of us fell out in any way, shape or form. We certainly never stopped talking on the phone because obviously there's still ongoing business to do. I mean, you release a lot of records over a period of years and it's an ongoing business and we're all sort of shareholders in that business so we've had to get together and have some boring financial conversations (laughing) about royalties and all that kind of rubbish so it's not like any of us ever stopped and we've all been working together in various different ways in the individual period anyway.
The whole kinda 'Bowes/Morley' thing came about as a result of me being offered a deal by a Japanese label and to be honest with you I was so sorta bored with the whole idea of trying to find people to work with. I suppose I'm spoilt really after having worked with Luke for many, many years we've got a kind of arrangement where we don't have to talk about it too much - we just kinda get on with it. If you get spoilt by that and if you star working with other people it becomes a real pain in the arse. I suppose the Bowes/Morley thing came about as a result of me basically moaning about the fact that I was having all kinds of trouble trying to find people to work with and he said, 'Well why don't you let me do it?' So I thought, 'He's probably right and we'd had a few beers at the time and it kind of just snowballed once again. I mean, we've never really got a plan - it just happens!! (laughs) So we did the Bowes/Morley album and I said to him, 'Well let's make it different - there's no point in doing it same as Thunder or we might as well put Thunder back together.'
Glenn: That's true.
Danny: And so we tried to sort of show us and show people what our other influences were apart from just rock because we've always been into all kinds of different music and that was it. But unfortunately the views about 'Thunder' and the 'Monsters of Rock' kind of escaped and the timing was rather catacistic from a Bowes/Morley point of view. What was a really good record kind of died a bit. There wasn't really much you could do about it and coupled with the fact that we jumped right out of it and into the frying pan and into the fire with a record company who didn't give a monkeys before that so that experience in itself basically told me not to go to a Major Label record company again.
Danny Bowes waves 'Bye-Bye' to Major Labels
Glenn: It's best to do it yourself.
Danny: Well exactly. We've been in the business long enough to er well you've got to be pretty stupid not to learn anything and while we might be stupid, we are not that stupid. So I thought well, we learnt enough and we decided to do it ourselves. I mean, it's a lot of work and it is very hard but we've always been very serious about what we do and if we are gonna do it we have to have at least a bit of a go and do it properly rather than this kind of cottage industry sticking labels on yourselves thing. We wanna almost like play the record companies at their own game - not that the record companies are really hurtin' by the look of it but it'll surprise and kill them a bit.
Glenn: How did you record the album? Was it done on like basic tape-like multi-track or did you do a live session?
Danny: Well we did it pretty much as a three pronged attack really. Luke's got a studio pro-tools kind of thing that was really up-to-date at the time which is now virtually in the dumper. We used that and we recorded it all apart from the vocals and took it to the studio and were told, 'Unless you can do this better from a technical point of view, this sounds fine to me' so there's no reason for us to change this. Harry played along on the drums, so did Chris (Bassist) and so did Ben and so did Luke and the bits that weren't really up to it, we changed but to be honest with you it was a fairly painless job. We have a very good time. We always make each other laugh the whole time - our records aren't a ball-ache to do - they are more like a party.
Chris Childs & Ben Matthews
Glenn: It comes across like that as well - more of a party vibe than a serious work vibe.
Danny: With not having a record company there was that financial pressure to get it done as quickly as possible which meant that we had to cut the deals very, very carefully. We had to be very, very organised about what we were doing. All we did was half the studio budget and double the beer budget.
Glenn: I can't fault you.
Danny: It made it a whole lot easier.
Glenn: What would you say the highlights of the 'Monsters of Rock Tour' were?
Danny: To be honest with you the first night at Wembley was pretty scary, in as much as we didn't get a proper production rehearsal for the band but from a 'behind the scenes' point of view trying to get 4 bands running smoothly in 5 hours was quite hard and from a Thunder point of view to step out onto the stage when you haven't done anything for like 3 years.
Glenn: It was pretty nerve-wracking.
Danny: Well no, it wasn't nerve-wracking, not once we got (on the stage). You see, for us the whole relationship between the band and the audience has always been there - it's always been really good. Right from when we take to the stage, we step in front of the audience, we do our thing and the punters go mad. We love that. We come to sort of really appreciate that and value it. That wasn't the problem, the problem so much was it was just a kind of a 'well this is it, 2 ½ years away and you come back and your 1st gig is London's Wembley arena. It's a fairly strange feel.
Glenn: I know, it's like the be all and end all venue for a Rock band isn't it?
Danny: Well I mean, it's just like a shed and the sound quality in there is dreadful but the vibe is there. I mean, when you can stand there and look out and see so many people out there clapping their hands - that was pretty good. I think Sheffield was amazing - it was the last show of the tour, it wasn't as sold out as I would have liked it to have been but it was one they added because it was deemed to work. The audience were great despite the fact that there weren't that many of them. I don't give a monkeys if it's ten and dog if they are up for it I'm there.
Glenn: How do you keep your voice in shape? Many people as they get older their voice starts going but yours has always been there!!
Danny: Well to be honest with you, if anything my voice has got stronger. Certainly, I know when we did the 'Bowes and Morley' album I hadn't sang anything in anger for probably a good 18 months apart from just the odd like Christmas do for a friend and just basically bunging some backing vocals for a few things here and there. I did a couple of adverts for some people - just literally favours but nothing really of any consequence and when we did the 'Bowes and Morley', Luke and I did the demos all through the Summer of 1991 and everytime we wrote a song.. if I was passing, I'd say, "Right, I'm on my way over, get the mikes out and I'll come over and sing it" and we literally did it like that all the way through the Summer.
Luke, Ben and Danny
It was a great way to make an album - really funny, fairly strange - it was none of this 'let's get together and get the red light on and make everything work at once business'. We decided to break all the rules and just do it our own way. So I would just literally go and phone him and say, "I've been in London, I'm on my way, I've gotta go past your house, so go and get the mikes out". He'd say "Great". Sometimes he wasn't there or whatever but it didn't make any difference. But I remember him saying to me, he said, "Your voice seems to be getting stronger, you're singing like a bird at the minute". I said, "I don't understand why that is, maybe it's just having a break for a year or so, no idea" but it certainly hasn't been a problem for me.
I mean, it's quite physically demanding to sing the songs, the 'Thunder songs' and obviously with each album it gets harder. It's a bit like being or having a feeling you are in the Olympics as you go through the set especially if you go for like 2 hours as every Thunder show was about 2 hours - all the jiggery and a pokering and a shouting and a screaming at everyone and a 2 hour set - 6 nights a week. We've never done anything less than 6 nights a week - 3 nights on, one night off, 3 nights on, one night off always and that, it's physically demanding and quite hard.
It's quite nerve racking towards the end of the time of ten years of Thunder I was definitely starting to feel a bit kinda worn out by the whole process but having had a break and having a another chance to get back into it via the 'Monsters of Rock' I have to say that I'm ready to go for the shows in May.
Glenn: It'll be good to see you for a whole show instead of just for an hour or so.
Danny: Yeah, it all felt like it was all over only too quick when we did the 'Monsters of Rock'.
Luke and Ben in Guitar pose mode
Glenn: Yeah, it was a week wasn't it?
Danny: Yeah, not too long - it was like 9 shows in like about 11 days or something.
Glenn: Did you have any good parties after the shows?
Danny: Well we could have done but I'm not really gonna go into detail - a gentleman never tells.
Glenn: Yeah. Who would you say your influences are? Have they changed over the years?
Danny: They certainly have yeah. I mean, when I was a kid - my 1st, the big thing, the one guy who really got me into singing was Paul Rodgers. I mean, the very first record I had was a Free record and I heard the 1st Free record and I thought, 'This is what it's about, this is what I wanna do like that' and that basically really did it for me. I just bought every Free record I could lay my hands on, taped anybody elses, you know I was off and you know, I knew all the words to every Free record and I wanted to be 'Paul Rodgers' and I was certainly cheesed off that he already was 'Paul Rodgers'.
But as the years went by and Bad Company came out, I looked at Bad Company and, you know, the 1st 2 albums I liked, but from the 3rd album after I started to feel they were getting a bit lazy in the writing and by then you know I was getting more serious about what I'm doing and seeing everybody as a threat almost - like competition and that's a strange thing because in a way it kind of interferes with your ability as a fan.
It's a strange thing, you know I stopped to go to shows because I wouldn't enjoy 'em anymore as I was watching the way in which the singer was singing and I was thinking that he was short-changing the punters. I became more and more like a critic. It's just a professional thing. As you get better and you learn your craft you're looking at people and you're sort of questioning at the way they're doing things as opposed to the way you did it when you were a kid - you just go there and throw yourself around. I mean as a kid I got thrown off the PA at every single show I went to. I was like Mr. Stage-diver, you know I was just very, very into everything but I suppose as the influences changed over the years I got into like Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gae and now like Stevie Wonder is my like all time favourite singer/musician man I've ever heard. I was just kinda in awe. I mean, I never ever get into my car without a Stevie Wonder album playing. It's because he's so different to what I do and you kind of appreciate the enormous amount of emotion that goes into it and I like to put that into my records - the rock band following the riffs.
Chris Childs looking out to the Thunderous fans
Glenn: I thought actually when I was listening to the song 'Out of my head' that you must be influenced by someone like Stevie Wonder because the vibe is there and the vocal harmonies in Out of my head' are just very souly but very riffing and it works in that sort of style for Thunder.
Danny: Well it's something we've always tried to fuse. We pushed it hard in the Bowes/Morley record - we did a couple of tracks like that almost could have been like Otis Redding years before and we pushed it very, very hard and I think had we made the right decision to do that. When we started talking about making the new Thunder album, I said to Luke, 'Whatever you do, when you are sitting there and you are writing these tunes, I want you to think back to the way it was when you first started writing for Thunder' because Luke's sort of writes very creatively - he writes in a style but he can write outside of that style as well.
He'll always have like it'll always sound like me singing it but he can draw on influences and he knows what works musically - he's very analytical about what works in records and because he's able and capable of doing that he's able to kinda almost write to order so if I give him the brief of like 'go back to the beginning, go back to the first album, think about the way you used to write tunes like 12 years ago and he basically said he sat there, scratching his head, thinking, 'how did I do that then' because you know, you evolve, you move on and the time goes by and by each record you've a bit further along the journey so sometimes it's quite hard to look over your shoulder, but like I say, having done the Bowes/Morley we've come back to Rock via Bowes/Morley and I think he found it quite refreshing - certainly, we all did. It was great to be back in the studio.
Glenn: The track 'Everybody's Laughing' about the millennium party in Los Angeles - was that a true story by any chance?
Danny: Well it was a true story but it was in London but he did the LA thing on it - he went there and he was driving - he wasn't supposed to be driving but he ended up driving and because he was driving he had to stay sober - a major cock-up for Luke because I mean, he's a classic party animal and to drive on Millennium night as well and I think genuinely he couldn't believe it. He also couldn't believe just how many people in the room there were that were all gapped out of their heads!!
Luke thinks back to the Millennium Party!!
Glenn: On Charlie (Cocaine)?
Danny: Yeah - I mean those kinds of songs - when everyone dips into those kinds of songs - they are semi-autobiagraphical songs that are always, always out of experience - all born out a certain experience.
Glenn: Right. So you must have so many new songs to choose from for the 'Monsters of Rock Tour - what made you choose to perform 'Somebody get me a spin doctor'?
Danny: Well to be honest with you, we wanted to try some new stuff out but we knew we had a limit to the amount of time so we'd to be really careful on what we could do. It had to be something that wasn't too challenging for the audience because the last thing we wanted to do when we came back having had two and a half years years away was to try and sort of treat them with songs that weren't particularly accessible so ' Spin doctor' seemed like the obvious chance, obvious choice because it's just standard Rock 'n' Roll.
We just thought, 'it won't be too challenging - people could stamp their feet and jump up 'n' down - you know, it's pretty easy and another thing, we put it on the E.P. and we were also selling the E.P. during 'The Monsters of Rock Tour' to give us enough money to finish the album - it was even literally, hand to mouth. From our point of view it was vitally important that we did all the advertising we could. We've got marketish now and that's one of the decisions you have to make and release your own record. You have to think very carefully about the financial aspects.
Glenn: Since the song has been released on the E.P., can you see it being released as a single as well?
Danny: Well we are talking about releasing 'Loser' - that's gonna be the single and we are gonna release it on the first Monday after the Tour (May 2003). We start in Glasgow on the 18th, the next day is Manchester on the 19th and it will be available as of Monday of the 19th as we've done a deal with HMV. We are selling exclusively through HMV and the whole idea is a very overt and cynical attempt in to get a chart position. We just decided to grasp the net when we literally release this record and like I said earlier, almost play the record companies at their own game.
We just worked on the assumption that if we would with a fan base as loyal as ours we would play to enough - I mean, we play this song every night and make it available at HMV. There's 150 HMV's stores all around the country. Hopefully, they'll go to HMV - it's very simple for everybody - they know where they can buy it - HMV will hopefully have it in stock - if they can buy enough in the course of that week, come the following Sunday it might even get a chart position - without a record label that would be a fantastic thing.
Glenn: It's not been done before has it?
Danny: Well I mean, we kind of worked on the assumption that if we could do something like that then it might just give a bit of wider publicity for the album. If we get that then it obviously helps to sell the album and it puts us in a better shape to come back and do shows and on it goes.. It's very much hand to mouth and I've said this via the website to the fans at the end of the day that we rely on them completely 100% to spread the word because we don't have the money to spend on marketing like a record company does.
So they (the fans) seem to have responded really well and so far we did a thing on 'Total Rock Radio' and asked them if they would request us and we were at number 1 for 3 weeks. In fact the guys at 'Total Rock Radio' came back to us and said, 'Could you call off your people now please and give somebody else a chance'. So there's a fantastic thing out there - there's a dedicated loyal family and I love that and I make sure that we look out and give them what they want.
Glenn: Well when you guys split, there was nothing to replace Thunder.
Danny: Well I think musically I don't think that necessarily we are, as Thunder, breaking any ground but I think the whole package when you add up what Thunder represents, it's fairly unique in that regard and I don't think anyone would turn 'round and say, 'Well they are completely different from anything else" but if you look at the individuals and if you look at the kind of sense of humour, if you look at the live show and if you add that music and you add that to the kind of general accessibility.
Laugh out Loud - Danny's got the Clap
I mean, we are very much 'what you see is what you get'. We are just regular guys - the only real difference between us and our audience is that they're in the audience and we're on-stage. So to be honest with you, that's basically it - we don't have a problem with that as a concept at all but people do. Some people don't like their bands to be accessible - they want 'em to be on a pedestal, they want 'em to be removed, they wanna go and worship them to the far but I just can't abide that sh*t.
Glenn: Like the Rock Star status such as (place the name(s) here), 'I'm God' sort of thing.
Danny: Well, you know, some people like to feel like that and I just wanna feel like 'me'. I never really got into that kinda 'being famous' sh*t.
Glenn: Yeah, the big ego crap.
Danny: Well, you know, people come up to me in the bank and go, 'Are you him?' and I go, 'What?' and they go 'You're that bloke aren't you? that singer in that band', and I go, 'Sorry mate, I don't know what you are talking about' because I'd rather say 'No'. I'm not really into that carrying around the big banner, you know, like 'look at me, I'm famous' - it's not my thing, I'd sooner just get on with my life.
Glenn: What made you title the album, 'Shooting at the Sun'?
Danny: There's no deep and hidden meaning to that. It was literally a case of, you know, a lack of motivation on our part - we wrote a song called 'Shooting at the Sun' - a bit of a hopeless kind of tell the world about a guy who's not with it - he did learn but life's all gone a bit futile and it's just the way he felt - he felt like he was going nowhere and it just felt like it was kind of a point in time when we've always tried to get a title. We've always lifted the title for the albums from one of the songs within it - not always but nearly always and it just kind of seemed like the right title to have.
Glenn: I thought is it like an 'Icarus' sort of thing to shooting up to be the big band that Thunder used to be again? But obviously it seems it gonna work anyway pretty well.
Danny: Well to be perfectly honest with ya, we've kind of.. well you have to be fairly philosophical about these things. I mean, when we started the band we were very fortunate - we were in the right place at the right time - everyone's looking for like a 'Guns 'n' Roses - UK Version'. We were very fortunate and we kind of unwittingly locked into that timing. It was nothing to do with us - it was just the way it was.
We'd made our decision on what kind of record we were gonna make - it was just luck really that other people were interested in that kind of record because we would have made it (the record) anyway. Having sort of made the record and having had that moment we had like 5 very, very fast, very furious, very nutty years. Then we couldn't really do anything wrong and all the magazines liked 'Thunder' weekly and you thought to yourself, 'This is amazing' and we rode it for as long as we could. But by then when started Thunder we weren't 18, so we'd been around the block once with the previous band (Terraplane) and we'd seen what it was like to go through the like Record Company 'Sausage Machine' - so none of us were under any illusions.
We knew that after a little while it would kind of platter out and we'd just sort of see how long and how far we could take it. So we got to about '95/'96 and it looked like it was slowing down and grunge had happened and everyone was kinda like getting into Pearl Jam and all that kind of rubbish and we just thought, 'Well that's not really what we do - we'll just continue, we've got a following, we'll continue making our records' and we've never really been that interested in what anybody else is doing.
I mean, we're very kind of well we've got this kind of almost like a gang mentality - we are very self contained. You know, we are all mates and we enjoy it. We like making records together, we like playing together and it wouldn't be an easy band for any of us to walk away from and it wasn't easy splitting up the first time. We felt like we were going round in circles and we were a bit tired of the thing which is why we did it - not because anybody each other or anything.
But I mean, you have to be philosophical about it - you have your moment and you have to enjoy it and then after that if you wanna come back then you have to be realistic about what your chances are.
Glenn: You gotta see how it goes?
Danny: We've all got other interests- we all do other things too and this is not kind of full-time Thunder for any of us - it's very kind of what else. I mean, we like doing it and if we can make enough money to make the record then we'll do it.
Glenn: What else do you do outside Thunder?
Danny: Oh you know, we're all busy, all busy. Harry's did some stuff for Magnum last year and he's got another band called 'Bad Influence' that he plays in - it's largely kind of like a pub band but she's a great singer - the girl who plays in it - she's been running this band for years and years - she's a really good singer. The guitar player is her husband and he's an absolutely phenomenal guitar player. You just wonder why they never really become more successful. But Harry loves 'em - loves playing with them and they got a real good following and they play all over the place. It keeps him out of trouble. He does that.
Chris plays with various bands - he's always played with loads and loads of different people. He does a lot of stuff with Russ Ballard, he does stuff with Paul Young - you know, 'Wherever I lay my hat' and all that and he does stuff with 'The Illegal Eagles - An Eagles tribute band'.
Glenn: Yeah - I think they've probably played here in South Yorkshire.
Danny: Yeah - he's played with them and Luke's sort of producing stuff and writing with people. He's been out to Nashville recently writing tunes for different country artists and that kind of stuff. Ben is an engineer - he's always very busy making records.
I'm a kind of a mover and a shaker. I kind of do stuff behind the scenes - I'm sort of advising a couple of singer/songwriters at the minute, I do a lot of production work, I do a little bit of tour managing for people. I do a lot of consultancy to record labels and just keep myself pretty busy. I've learnt a lot about the music industry over the years and it's pretty easy for me. People luckily enough ring me a lot of the time to ask my advice about stuff and they are quite happy to pay me for it.
Glenn: Do you get a lot of people wanting singing lessons?
Danny: No. It isn't something I've ever got into. Never ever got into that at all. Never felt equipped enough to tell anybody (how to sing). I don't really know how I do it.
Glenn: You just do it and it comes out?
Danny: Yeah. It's just the way it comes out. I mean, my only experience of singing leassons was my Manager told me once a long, long time ago that I should go and see someone just to check whether I was doing it right.
Danny goes for the high note!!
Danny: And I did go and gave her the money and sat down and the woman played the piano and said, "Sing that" and I sang it and she said, 'OK, Sing this' and I sang that as well and we did that for sort of like about 15 minutes and she gave me my money back and said, "Go away, there's nothing I can teach you!!"
(Which makes me laugh)
So instead of doing a half an hour singing lessons, I ended up doing half of one.
Glenn: Wow. That's cool.
Danny: Well I was disappointed actually - I wanted to learn something.
Glenn: Well that's killed that one then!! What would you say have been the major highlights in your career have been so far?
Danny: Oh, there's been a lot but I think the real big stand-out one - the one that really kind of establish in the beginning was Donington in 1990. I don't think anyone who knows anything about Thunder who was there will ever forget it. I mean, it was a big day. I mean, we'd had a lot of drama in the week previous where I'd lost my voice and you know I had to basically go and see a doctor who filled my arse up with steroids and told me to kind of be quiet for three days - which I'm sure you've gathered is not easy for me - I like a talk.
Danny: You know, it wasn't very easy and obviously there were all kinds of rumours flying around that we weren't gonna show up (at Donington) and there were a lot of worries about the fact of the event anyway because the year before was cancelled because the year before that (1988). It was a very sort of strange time - a lot of pressure - the record company had a lot riding on it. The album (Back Street Symphony) had been out a little while and it had kind of done well it was doing alright but it hadn't really kicked off.
We had sort of two nights at Hammersmith, what was Hammersmith Odeon - Hammersmith Apollo now but we had it all held ready to announce for November, and, you know, we didn't believe for a million years that we were going to be able to sell out two nights at Hammersmith Odeon but those around us were pretty confident that it would be OK. And then I go and lose my voice.
Glenn: Choughing hell!!
Danny: So it was fairly nerve-wracking.
Glenn: Make or break basically wasn't it?
Danny: Well it was, yeah, very much so. I didn't know if I was gonna sing it. There is a video where you can actually see my face. Luke plays the riff to 'She's so fine'
and I start singing it and then literally the first time I hit the first big note you could see my face change. You can see the relief come over my chops and then it's a case of, 'It's alright, I've got it, I think I'm gonna be OK' and the adrenaline and the sense of kind of well-being that kind of took over the stage at that point, I'm sure that's the reason why the gig went so well because everybody was so choughed that we all like maniacs and I knew I was gonna be OK for the next 40 minutes.
Glenn: Well I put it on tape and I thought it was brilliant myself.
Danny: It was. I mean, I was in the audience, I was off the stage - it was ridiculous. Our Tour Manager at the time was a very old hand - I mean he used to work for 'The Who' and those people like that - he's very experienced and a grizzled sort of character and we came off and he chucked his hand over my shoulder and I was all sort of covered in sweat and I said, 'What did you think of that then Rodg?' and he said, 'I gotta tell ya, I think you had it all at your toes' which for Rodger was praise indeed because Rodger never said anything about anything. It was an amazing moment. I mean obviously it set on a path - I mean next couple of years after that were mental. To be honest with you, I thought I was gonna have a nervous breakdown two years later - so much going on.
Glenn: Would you say that there are certain songs in your career that you really still like to play and listen to even now?
Danny: It's a funny thing you know because there are some songs - some of them change. Some of them, you know, you really love for about the first 10 years and then you hate them. I mean, something like 'Love Walked In' for me is a great song and I know that loads of punters love it.
Glenn: But you get sick of it?
Danny: Yeah. They get married to it and all this kind of stuff but playing 'Love Walked In' drives me 'round the bend. I don't get fed up with singing it, I just get fed up with listening to it.
Glenn: Got you.
Danny: 'Dirty Love' is another song - we cannot possibly do a show without finishing with 'Dirty Love'.
Glenn: But you get sick of singing it?
Danny: Yeah, they come to me and I will not rehearse the song. I cannot stand rehearsing it - it drives me mad. I mean we've done it at every gig we've ever done so Christ knows how many hundred times that is but you know, it's been there but I won't rehearse it anymore.
Glenn: It's a bit like Elton John and 'Your Song'.
Danny: It's one of those things, you know, it's like anything. Some songs wear a bit thin on you but there are other songs that if you don't get in the beginning, you know, you like 'em and you sing 'em and they're alright but they don't move ya and then later on suddenly, you get it. I don't know if it's me just being retarded or what but that's the way it is if I'm to be honest about it.
Glenn: Do you plan to put any cover songs in the set because you've played songs like ' The Small Face's 'Tin Soldier'; 'With a little help from my friends' and such like? Are you planning to put anything in on this current tour at all?
Danny: That's a good question, as I've said before, everything that Thunder do is largely not by design and as it stands we don't even have a set list for the UK Tour. We won't decide it until we do rehearsals. We probably won't decide what we are gonna play on the first night until on the way to the first night.
Glenn: Well that's Rock 'n' Roll innit?
Danny: Well that's the way we do it. We don't rehearse too much. We don't like getting too prepared. We like that feeling of it flying on by the seat of its pants - like it could all go horribly wrong any minute. I liken it to riding along on a motorbike with no handlebars.
Glenn: Yeah?!?!?!? (making me laugh in surprise)
Danny: It's fairly fraught but I like that. We build these moments in whenever we do rehearse which isn't very often, it's got to be said but whenever we do rehearse we literally build those moments in when we know we are gonna start something and we know how we are gonna finish it but we don't necessary know what we are gonna do in the middle and we do that a lot.
Glenn: My mates band 'CRF' never rehearse and if they are gonna put a new song in the set, they play it in a sound-check and that's it.
Danny: That's what we do. That's how we rehearse our new songs. We are doing an acoustic thing in Birmingham, next Saturday at XL's and we're planning to do a few more of those in the Summer - hopefully we'll come to a Rock club near you. But we've talked about what we are gonna play acoustic, we are gonna play for maybe 20 or 30 minutes and we'll do a signing and we'll just sort of chat about what we are gonna do.
I spoke to Luke on the phone yesterday saying, 'What do you think we should do for this thing?' and he said, 'Yeah, yeah, good question actually'. And I said, 'We should probably do something new off the new record' and he just said, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah' and I know he's not interested. He's not even interested in talking about it. It's not that he doesn't like doing it - it's not that at all. We've had this kind of built in problem with just getting too prepared. You know, we'll almost probably get to Birmingham, sit in someone's room and start rehearsing.
Danny: We almost certainly will do that - that's the way we nearly always do it.
Glenn: I guess it's a case of seeing what comes into your head and you try them out.
Danny: That's the way we do it. I know at the time it's just trying things out and seeing if it comes. I mean, we've done a lot of touring over the years with bands who were rigid in every sense. They did the same thing, the same way at the same point every night and to be honest with you after two or three nights watching 'em I'm bored so I can't imagine how bored they must be playing it. I just think that if you're bored you must be boring because I don't feel bored when I play the Thunder tunes because I'm always looking for another way of making it a bit more interesting for me and if I make it interesting for me then hopefully the audience will find it interesting as well. So that's my whole kind of reason. That's the reason for doing it.
Glenn: So basically the Thunder set at 'Monsters of Rock' was different every night?
Danny: Well the 'Monsters of Rock' kinda tweaked it a bit. We didn't feel that confident enough in being able to change it too much because we were on a strict time-table but when you are doing your own set you can sort of speed things up or slow things down, knock a song out or do something like that but when you're only paying about 7 or 8 tunes it's very hard to fiddle with it too much because some Thunder songs are like 3 ½ minutes long, some Thunder songs are 8 minutes long. Some Thunder songs when we get carried away will be 20 minutes long - so if you're only playing like 45-50 minutes you can end up making it a cock-up. If you change one song for another one..
Glenn: You get fans saying, 'Well they didn't play this, they didn't play that' I fee ripped off or something.
Danny: Well you're always gonna get that. You can't please everyone. It gets worse with every album because with every new album you make, people make new favourites and you've only got two hours and if you played everything, you'd be there for a week and there'd only be one show.
Glenn: What songs from your new album do you reckon you'll be playing?
Danny: Well we'll certainly play 'Loser' because it's gonna be the single and I also think that sounds very obviously like a Thunder track. Apart from that I couldn't tell you - I really couldn't tell you. If I don't know I certainly can't tell you.
Glenn: I think 'Everybody's laughing' will be a good one.
Danny: Very possibly, very possibly - I think that'll be one we'll put in that'll be the new 'Englishman on Holiday' song for some reason. I don't quite know why but it's got that kinda vibe about it - it's got that whole kind of, you know, this is all based 'in fact' and it's a bit kind of sing-a-long , it's a bit giggly, you know, in the way it's kind of typical Thunder in some respect.
Glenn: Do you reckon you'll be coming back to Sheffield again?
Danny: We are, our basic plan this moment in time is to do 6 shows - we didn't wanna do any more than that because we didn't want to take the mickey, we didn't wanna know. We've been wanting to know that people were gonna be there and we didn't want to book a lot of shows and take it for granted that they would all show up.
You know, you just don't know how it's gonna be and we've never been sort of that arrogant about it. We prefer to be sort of led by the fans so we thought, 'We'll book six shows and see how they do and if they do well we'll come back later on in the year' and obviously we'll go to the places that we didn't go to last time and Sheffield's always been fantastic for Thunder - so we'll come back to Sheffield, we will indeed.
Glenn: What would you say have been some of the best parties you've been to?
Danny: We've had a few crackers. Andy Taylor had a few - the Duran Duran guy who produced for the first couple of albums which were unbelievable - I mean real good ones - we had a studio party, you know where you've finished your new record. In the studio we have a tendency to work residentially and we lock ourselves away in the country somewhere in the property off somewhere where can make a mess and you know we rig a bag of havoc and import a bunch of people on a Friday night, you know, when we are kinda downing tools. Then we play people stuff where we are at just to say, 'What do you think of them?' and then kinda pick it up the next day.
Literally I went into the control room of the studio the following morning and there's like millions of pounds worth of equipment and we're usually pretty careful but I walked in and I actually felt sick with the smell. It was unbelievable. There was just people lying everywhere and it was really quite unpleasant but we had a bloody good time. We'd ripped things off the walls like the smoke alarm - the demon alcohol !!!
Glenn: Well that's cool. Right I'm gonna let you get off. You take care mate.
Danny: Indeed and you.
A Special thank-you to Sharon Chevins at The Publicity Connection for setting up the Interview and Paul Milligan, BA Hons CMT for taking the excellent photo's at Rock City, Nottingham
A recent question I asked Danny via the Thunder Website Q&A section.
Q: I did an interview with you last year for www.metalliville.com - our webzine I saw Paul Rodgers at Wembley Arena on 24th September and he was awesome. I remember you telling me you always admired and wanted to be Paul Rogers - what a voice - would you like to do a duet with him sometime in the future - how cool would that be? What sort of song would you like to perform with him if you had the chance? would it be an original song or a cover - how about the two of you doing one of his and then one of yours, an original song or two and maybe a song that influenced both of you in some way? Glenn Milligan, Sheffield
D: Whoh Neddy... Hold your horses. When I was a kid PR had a major influence on me. It shows I know, and there's nothing I can do about that. However I had loads of other influences too, so to single out Mr R is probably not quite fair. I don't follow his career nowadays, as I have my own to concern myself with. As to duets, as it's very unlikely to happen, I think I'll leave you to speculate on that kind of thing, and whether or not it would be any good. Glad you enjoyed his show though, nice to know he's still delivering the goods, it tells me I was right to like him as a kid...