An Interview with
that took place on August 20th, 2016
who has a UK & European Tour coming up in September.
Interviewed by Glenn Milligan.
Glenn: Hi, how’s Nashville at the moment mate?
Mitch: Nashville is nice. It’s been a strange day. It was raining earlier but the sun is back out!
Glenn: Aha right, it’s been similar over here too today! How has the tour been going so far?
Mitch: Well the tour is really just Europe. I’ve had a few shows in the States to warm up. Those shows have been fantastic. It’s been really, really, fun!
Glenn: Cool! What about the Whisky show, how was it?
Mitch: The Whisky show was absolutely fantastic. That club has got to be in the top few clubs that I’ve ever played in. I’ve played some really nice places but as far as clubs go, I’d probably say that it’s the nicest one I’ve ever played.
Glenn: It’s one of my favourites. I love going there when I am over in Los Angeles. I think the same actually. Playing it must be really, really special. There’s no doubt about that.
Mitch: Yeah the sound is really great and they really did it right. The clubs in Nashville, the sound systems are just way under-powered and they don’t have enough cabinets. It’s always for me… I’m a sound guy and mixing engineer so I notice that stuff. I think they have a perfect PA system in the Whisky. It’s fantastic.
Glenn: I agree. It’s spot on. What songs on the US dates have been going down the best so far and why?
Mitch: That’s a good question! I don’t know if there’s been a favourite although obviously ‘Anything At All’ is a favourite. That’s an obviously call but ‘It’s The Right Time’ seems to be going over really well. The first album people love so all those songs go down the same. ‘Our Love Will Never Die’ is always a big favourite. It just works really well live.
Glenn: As you say, you’ve got European dates coming up, what shows are you most looking forward to playing?
Mitch: I can’t really say honestly. For me today, I’m in ‘Tour Mode’ – only today. It’s started today. I have been busy in the studio with other acts up until last night. Today I thought, ‘Okay, now I get to look at the tour schedule’ and really start focussing on getting ready for the European Tour. I’ve just been blessed because I am extremely busy this year and I honestly haven’t looked at the tour schedule. I am trusting Mark Owen to that. I’m just looking at it as one big lump sum event that I’m doing and one particular show, I can’t really say I’m looking forward to other than any other one.
Glenn: I know you are coming over to Sheffield on 17th September so we are really looking forward to that one!
Mitch: Okay. Hahahaha! It’s all the same to me though. They are all the same. I look at them the same. I’m excited that you’re coming to that one though for sure.
Glenn: Yeah I’m looking forward to it too and meeting up! One of the first shows that ever got covered for Metalliville back in the day was the show you did at the Boardwalk. Dave Attrill covered that one and it was strange because Nelson were meant to be the headline act and for some reason they pulled out, so you became the headliner act for the show. How was that show? Do you remember much about that?
Mitch: (Laughs) No! I remember pretty much everything. I can tell you… if I walk into a club that I’ve been into before I recognise it and I have a good time everywhere that I go but I cannot pinpoint this one or that one. I do remember Sheffield as being the beginning of the tour. I know one of them was and it was a great show. I remember that it was a really big crowd, I had tons of energy and had a lot of fun. I think that was Sheffield.
I remember the London show. It was the only time I had ever played in London. That was really exciting because I think it was a Wednesday night. It was pretty packed and it was exciting for me for my first time ever playing London. I remember that. I remember most stuff. I remember people’s faces. I remember a lot of things but I can’t specifically tell you about each particular show.
Glenn: It all becomes a blur after a while. You’ve done so many shows over the years. Your new album, when is it coming out? Tell me about the production side of it all as well. There’s no doubt you had a lot to do with that when it’s one of your main jobs.
Mitch: It comes out on my birthday which is August 26th.
Mitch: Yeah! The pre-orders are ready for the UK and Europe. That’s happening! On my website, there will be pre-orders for the States. www.mitchmalloy.com is back up and a brand new website. It’s looking great. As far as the production side, I’m a Producer so I’m making records every day all day and that’s my job. My job’s to go out and play for people as well but primarily now I’m a Producer.
I’ve just made so many records for so many other acts and I was doing so many things on those records. I’m that kind of person that if something needs to be done, I do it. If I can’t do it I’ll call in help. Luckily, I can do most things – I’m fortunate in that way. I thought it would be nice to be alone and just make the record by myself. I’ve never done that before completely by myself so that’s what I did. It’s turned into a challenge for me. I thought, ‘Can I really make a record all by myself?’ and I did. Honestly, it was very gratifying, fulfilling and it went quick. Maybe if somebody was watching the process it seemed quick but I couldn’t do it all in one shot.
I had other acts to produce so I was bouncing around. It was a great experience. I might do it again. I’m not sure if I would do a whole CD all by myself again. I would probably pull in some help here and there just to get a different flavour on certain things but I’m really proud of this one. People really seem to be digging it!
Glenn: I’ve heard the one song that is featured on your website. I was really impressed. The sound is phenomenal. The music was great as well but the sound ‘Holy Hell’ – you’ve done really well with that one!
Mitch: Well thanks! When you’ve been doing something for so long you start to get better at it.
Glenn: It must be different for you. Do you have to get into a different sort of mindset when it’s your album as opposed to someone else’s album or do you treat it all same and thing, ‘Right, I did that with that artist, let’s see what I can do with my own album’. How do you personally go about that mindset-wise?
Mitch: You know, you are right about that. When I’m producing another act I am very, very conscious and sensitive to who they are, what they want and how to make them happy because it’s their record not mine. I need to just help them, be the facilitator if you will, to make the record that they want to make. I enjoy that. That’s a challenge and I’ve been pretty successful at it. Well it was time to do my own thing, it’s a different head. The song, ‘My Therapy’, it really was just that. I thought, ‘Okay, I need some alone time, I need to just create and whatever comes out of me for me’.
At this point, I do what I want to do for me, what sounds good to me and my take is of what I like. All I need to do is to just please myself on this. That’s the approach I took and it was really, really nice. I love working with other acts as well. I really, really love it or I wouldn’t do it. But I can honestly say, this ‘Making Noise’ record is the most fun I have ever had, making a record for myself.
Glenn: Are there any certain parts of the recording process that stand out and certain songs that you recorded that you were really happy with and the writing process of the album as well?
Mitch: Yeah! The writing process was fun – easy and fast. I wrote most of the record right in the studio, then I went on vacation, I went to the beach and I wrote the rest of the record on the beach. I had a goal that I every night when the girls were asleep I would grab my guitar and write a song every night. I did that and I finished the record doing that, then came back, recorded those songs and finished it up.
Here's a funny story for you: The song ‘Speak Of The Devil’ which is one of my favourites on the record – the last note in that song is held out for an excruciating long, long time. Afterwards, I was doing that vocal late at night. I recorded most of the record when the girls were asleep. I have my own studio in the house but I work a lot after they have gone to bed. So it was late, late at night and I was tired, I was doing that vocal and I held out that last note and I passed out. Can you imagine seeing that? I actually hit the floor! My knees buckled and I hit the floor! That was the end of that vocal. Luckily that was the last note I had to sing. It was certainly the last note I sang that night.
Glenn: Do you hear a crash on the floor of the recording then?
Mitch: Hahaha! I edited that out! But yeah, I actually passed out while I was singing that vocal. People wonder how much of myself do I put into these records? Well (laughs).
Glenn: Your whole body!
Mitch: I sang until I went down and that’s the first and only time that’s ever happened.
Glenn: Wow! Cool!
Glenn: What songs come to mind that you are most happy with that you’ve put on the album?
Mitch: It’s funny because I haven’t heard it now in a while because I’ve been running around doing other things and again, producing somebody else. But I listened to it last night before I went to bed and I was surprised that the songs that I really enjoyed that I thought were maybe some of the weaker ones like the song ‘Alone’ - I loved it last night. It wasn’t because it was one of my favourites but it sounded great to me last night.
The song ‘Making Noise’ is that last song on the record ‘Making Noise’. I loved that last night. I have to say that probably my favourite, it’s probably only my favourite so far and it’s nobody else’s favourite, but the first song on the record is called ‘Rock And Roll’. I know, terribly unoriginal title – sorry! But I love that song. It’s different for me. It’s like 60’s Soul Rock. It’s got a very 60’s vibe to it. I’ve never done anything like it. I love it!
I’m really proud of the songs. I don’t think there’s a weak at all on the record. I really pride myself in songs. I think that’s probably what I do best – the songs! There’s a lot of variation – some real rockers and there’s two ballads, there’s some mid-tempo’s. It’s an interesting record. I hope people like it.
Glenn: Nice! Is it a self-released album or are you doing it through a company like Frontiers or someone like that?
Mitch: I was offered that but it didn’t fit into my time schedule and I’ve got to be so independent that I’m just not used to having to be with a label now. Serafino (Perugino, the Head of Frontiers) is an old friend of mine and I really like him. He did offer me that CD which is an honour to have an offer from any label and I don’t to poo-poo labels at all. I respect what they do and I really like Serafino and what he’s doing but it just didn’t fit into the timeframe for the tour and everything. It just wasn’t going to work. I was very flattered and appreciative for that offer but I’m self-releasing this time now.
Glenn: You are your own boss and you can please yourself when you want to get things done can’t you as opposed to fitting into a timeframe and that makes a lot of sense.
Mitch: Yeah and I really like owning my work. I have an eight year old girl that I love to pieces. I want her to get everything when I’m gone so I try to keep my creative works to myself. There’s a lot of reasons to do that. The financial thing is nice to go with a label and valid. I’m not saying I won’t do it on the next one – we’ll see. I do like having control of things, creating my own schedule and doing what I want when I want like you said. It’s a lot of work and a bit frantic with the artwork and everything – it’s always a pain! (Laughs) But I like being independent. It’s a cool way to be.
Glenn: Yeah. I saw a documentary about Dave Clarke from The Dave Clarke Five a couple of months ago and he was one of the only artists at the time that recorded his one material, leased out his albums for a certain amount of time to various record companies for x amount of money. In time you could no doubt do the same because you have got full control.
Mitch: Yeah! I can do whatever I want. I own my records. I can release what I want when I want or if I want to put it through a distribution channel and do it. I will be doing that soon on this record. There are some independent distributors that want to sell it, so I’ll sell it to them, so yeah, this record should come out all over the world.
Glenn: Awesome! You play both acoustic and electric. What’s your preference or do you like them both for different reasons?
Mitch: Yeah – different reasons. Honestly, I haven’t been doing much acoustic in the last couple of years because I’ve been making a lot of rock music. There’s always the odd acoustic track that I throw on. There’s a couple of acoustic guitar tracks on the ‘Making Noise’ record, on the ballads. I do put acoustic on other peoples ballads on other records that I record so I’m always playing it somewhat.
There have been years where I have admittedly been concentrating on acoustic playing almost exclusively acoustic but those days have not been recent. For me, lately it’s all about the rock ‘n’ roll and after playing a lot of electrics and acquiring a lot of electrics much to my wife’s chagrin (We laugh). I have a little habit of buying guitars and building guitars now which has kind of been a fun thing.
Glenn: I was going to ask you about that.
Mitch: Yeah. I’ve just recently switch to Telecaster). I bought a vintage Japanese Telecaster that was not right but I recognise it had something going on. It’s been in a pile for four years. I got offered a job by a huge, huge act regarding the Fender, so I became buddies with Fender. I got some amazing Fender necks and put a Fender neck on that old Japanese Tele and it just came to life. That’s my number one now. That’s what I at the Whisky and my most likely unless I can beat it before I leave for Europe. I’ll be taking that Tele to Europe.
Glenn: I look forward to seeing it.
Mitch: Yeah! It’s a great guitar.
Glenn: What about your new pick-ups you have had recently as featured on your facebook page?
Mitch: I’m glad you asked about that because I’ve been working with Deacci which is a company not out of Italy but out of Northern Island. They reached out to me many years ago and I helped them develop a pick-up. I’ve been working with them ever since and they have gone crazy now making all kinds of things.
Every piece that I have tried in my guitars that they’ve built has been absolutely outstanding. I’m really proud of the work that they’re doing and I’m proud to endorse it, talk about it and use it. I’m all about what’s great – what works great and what sounds great. What they’re doing is absolutely top notch.
Glenn: Nice one! Will you be coming to NAMM in 2017 to demonstrate some of this stuff?
Mitch: I’m not much of a NAMM demonstrator. I’ve been offered to do that and asked to do that many times. I’m not saying I’d never do it but I have never done it. Maybe this year I will do that, I’m not sure. I do want to get to NAMM in LA this coming year. That is something that’s in the books.
Glenn: You originally came from Dickinson, North Dakota. How was the music scene there?
Mitch: There wasn’t one. I just gravitated towards music. We’d buy LP’s at the local record shop and I would buy Hit Parader and Circus Magazine every month at the Grocery Store. It was in the magazine rack. That was my conduit to the music business. That was all I had so I would just look at those magazines and think to myself, ‘Some day that’s going to be me!’, and that ‘some day’ happened.
Glenn: You always associate Nashville with Country Artists. Do you find that you can have your rock act there or is that why you went onto the recording side so you could live there, make a living there and also as a result of that record your own material and go out on tour as well?
Mitch: Yeah! Nashville is just a really good place to be. It’s an easier life for a music hub or a music centre. It’s definitely the easiest music centre to live in and it has become the biggest music centre to live in. The scene in Nashville I think is bigger than it is in L.A. or New York. There is a rock scene here. It’s not like it used to be when I was in New York. There was a massive rock scene there but that’s the case everywhere. Rock isn’t what rock used to be as far as the popular art-form.
It’s not what it used to be. The scene isn’t the same anywhere in the world but Nashville is a really good place to live. It’s easy. My kid is in a great school here. We have nice friends here. We have a beautiful home and we live comfortably here. I enjoy Nashville for the most part. The weather isn’t always idea but it’s a good place to live and work.
Glenn: You play US shows, you are going to play European shows and of course you’ve been here in the past, how would you say the US shows differ from the European shows audience-wise?
Mitch: I would say the last shows have been similar. The Whisky show felt to me almost like a European Tour Date but as I got off stage, got changed and got into the crowd to sign and meet and greet, I came to realise that a lot of the crowd was European!
Mitch: So that explained it. It was really great. Generally, the European crowds are a little bit more astute. They know the music a little more intimately than the American crowds.
Glenn: Yeah. It’s often been said to me that rock fans or music fans in general in America differ from those in Europe because American fans seem to go out in phases and it’s like a fashion thing to be into a certain artist as opposed to being into certain artist for their entire career whereas in the UK or Europe we stick with an artist from Day 1. Would you say that’s the case?
Mitch: Yeah. It’s accurate I would say. I think that’s true but not in all cases. I get fan mail from Americans that have been with me from Day 1 who have every piece of music I have every put out. They’ve got more music than I do. There are those fans here as well but I think in general, the European fans are a little bit more committed let’s say.
Glenn: Apart from performing shows, what other parts of the World have you liked to see, dare I say as a tourist or when you aren’t on stage. Why do those places come across so eventful and memorising for you?
Mitch: Italy. I have real thing for Italy. I love Italy and I love Italians. They are so soulful and have got culture. A lot of their culture really agrees with me. They appreciate the things in life that I appreciate. I think they know how to live. I haven’t been everywhere. Yes, I have been to many, many, many places but so far I would say the place that sticks out to me is Italy.
Glenn: So there’s no doubt you are looking forward to getting back to Italy to play as well?
Mitch: I am looking forward to Italy and that’s going to happen. I don’t think it’s booked yet but I think in November is when Italy happens.
Glenn: Due to you having your own studio, ‘Malloy Master Tracks Studio’, what would be your favourite moments working with other artists, what were those moments and what struck you about those certain artists that you worked with?
Mitch: Man, that’s a tough question! I’ve worked with so many different artists over the years. It’s always special anytime somebody entrusts their art in me, brings me their hopes and dreams and trusts in me to take them to the next level musically. I see and things as the same. I give everybody the same treatment. Every project means the same to me. I treat them like they’re mine. I make records for people but its my record serving them of course. I put everything I have into it. I’m not sure I can say specifically this thing, that thing or whatever. It’s just thrilling.
Obviously it was a thrill to work with the biggest artists in the world – that was a thrill. It’s also a thrill to work with a brand new artist that I just did. It’s their debut record and they are so excited. I delivered it to them last night. It’s the first time they’ve heard it complete. They are on the road right now. They’re tired but that certainly lifted their spirits. They are real excited.
It’s a really cool thing my job. I get to really impact on people’s lives in a positive way and deliver something to them that they hope that they can do that they need that they have never done before. It’s really a great, great thing for me to do. Again, as a whole it’s a great life and it’s a great thing. There’s all kinds of moments that happen that are memorable that I really enjoy.
Glenn: Nice. It’s a pleasure thing for both you and them as well. It all comes together and the end result is something that both sides are happy with so that’s a perfect thing isn’t it?
Mitch: Yeah! It’s really gratifying when you can take something and create something that wasn’t there before and making it something brand new out of nothing. Then you put it into a nice package where it makes them think, ‘Wow I didn’t know I could do that!’ and it’s really, really cool!
Glenn: Awesome! You’ve voice-over work in the past. How did that kind of work come to be and what do you like about that?
Mitch: Yeah I’ve done a little bit of that but it’s not something I do a lot of. I honestly know how that comes to pass. As anything, I get calls and offers, I take some and I turn more down. (We laugh)
Glenn: It’s a bit like being an actor isn’t it?
Glenn: Send me the scripts and I’ll choose!
Mitch: Yeah! It’s been a fantastic few years that have just happened with the business. Not really having to advertise, having people contact me and reach out to me and say, “Will you do this?”, “Will you do that?”. It’s really great!
Glenn: Do you find that you have to look at in a different way because it’s not like recording songs as such or singing or anything like that, you are doing a spoken word piece? Do you have to get into a different sort of mental state to do it or do you just think, ‘Right, this is a voice-over, let’s do it!’.
Mitch: That’s pretty quick and painless and of course you’re always thinking, ‘What is this for?’ and ‘How could I do this best?’ – all that stuff. For that kind of thing, it’s pretty cut and dry. You just hit it and go.
Glenn: Got ya. It’s not like spending time in your studio and doing as many takes as you want because there is only a certain amount of time that you’ve got to do it in no doubt?
Mitch: It’s pretty quick usually.
Glenn: You like all different types of musical instruments or studio stuff, what do items have to have that draws you to them?
Mitch: Lately it’s been a lot of software because thing have gone in that direction and I’m fortunate to work with some of the best companies in the world that are doing that. One is Slate Digital – Steven Slate. He’s one of the forerunners in the business now and I’m a full-on endorser for him. He’s just extremely good at what he does. I trust him and his company. He’s got a guy, a friendly guy by the name of Fabrice (Gabriel) who is one of his top designers who I’ve been working with for about 20 years. Those guys I really trust. I know what they make is going to be great and every time they make something new it is.
That’s a hard question. There are so many things that go into it. I can’t specifically pin-point this, that ore the other thing. There are a couple of other new pieces I have got this year – Phoenix Audio Mic. Pre I’ve been using to record vocals and drums. A fantastic piece! I generally get to try something before I commit to it because I’ve worked hard and they trust in me to do that. I get to use thing before I commit to them or they just flat-out give it to me which is nice too.
Glenn: Awesome. You can’t fault that can you? Brilliant!
Mitch: Free is a really good price.
Glenn: Yeah. It works both ways. You can say you are using a certain thing and say how good it is, so other people go out and buy it. It’s a good way of working. It’s faultless that! Spot on!
Mitch: Yeah! It’s great. It’s nice to be trusted as an endorser for these companies. It’s not something I take lightly. It’s something I’m very lucky to have.
Glenn: Did you actually do a deal with the Devil because you are the best part of 55 and look about 35. How the hell have you done it?Mitch: That’s a big question as well with a big answer. Number 1, I think that I’m lucky. I have good genes. I have young looking parents. It starts with that but that’s not everything really. Without getting too much into boring stuff that rock ‘n’ roll audiences don’t care about. I take care of myself and I have been one of those guys since the 80’s that has turned things down. I’m the guy who would say, “No, no, no, I’ll pass! I’ll have water instead.” I didn’t really start consuming any kind of alcohol at all until the last couple of years that I started drinking red wine.
I didn’t really drink until then or do any kinds of drugs to be honest. Not that I frown on that and certainly it’s been all around me my whole life. I have friends that do it and that’s fine. I have nothing against it, I just chose not to do it. I think that’s part of it and even more so, I would say nutrition. Even more so than drugs and alcohol avoidance is bad food avoidance. I’ve eaten very, very healthy since I was 18 and I honestly think that’s the key but it’s a very boring answer. (Laughs)
Glenn: Not at all. I agree with you because without blowing my own trumpet people will ask me how old I am and they never believe me. They say, “You’re about 25! There’s no way you are about 42!”. So there’s no doubt that you must get the same sorts of things all the time as well?
Mitch: Yeah I do. In the music business, coming up through the old school music business like I did, the record companies and management and everybody would always like about the age of the artists. They always did that with me. They knew they could get away with it so they would always lie. I got conditioned that that is what you are supposed to do. That’s what I was taught and when I got married - my wife is brilliant and a genius and she’s in the business as well. She always said from Day 1, “Mitch you cannot like about your age, just tell people how old you are. Who cares? It doesn’t matter?” I started listening to her. When I turned 50 we had a huge party and it was the first time anybody knew how old I was…
Glenn: …And nobody believed you?
Mitch: People were shocked. It was a surprise party and people were shocked that I was 50. That was five years ago. It was a huge party and it was great. Now I just own it and I’m proud of it because what else is there? I mean, you can’t try to act like something you’re not – you can’t! You have to accept your age. Now I wear it like a badge.
Glenn: I mean, you can’t pause age unless you want to go plastic fantastic and have a nose job and all the rest of it then end up looking totally freaky. (We laugh) I don’t get it at all.
Mitch: Yeah. Hahahaha. What is that? Leave my nose alone. (We laugh)
Glenn: That explains how you have looked after yourself and why your voice is in such good condition as well because you haven’t burnt out your throat and chest muscles or anything else – it’s still strong.
Mitch: Yeah! I think my voice has changed over the years. I think people can recognise that. If you listen to the ‘Making Noise’ record in its entirety or even just one song and you compare it to the first album, you can hear a difference in my voice but a lot of that is regional as well though. I sound different in different regions of the country. I made the first album in L.A. and in L.A. my voice is super clean generally. In Nashville my voice is a bit ratty because Nashville’s air is really pollinated. The allergies are the biggest in the country here.
Glenn: Same here.
Mitch: Yeah! I sound ironically a lot more Rock ‘N’ Roll in Nashville than I do almost anywhere else. My voice is very, very rock for me anyway. On the ‘Making Noise’ record people will hear more of an edge in my voice than they’ve ever heard.
Mitch: Yeah! I’m able to sing like I used to for the most part. It’s all about taking care of yourself. I like certain things about my voice better now than when I was a kid.
Glenn: That’s cool. Yeah, plus the voice changes over years and people have to drop the keys so their voice still sounds okay for the song but then you get other people who don’t and they sound terrible – forcing it out and their voice gets worse and worse and worse. I take it you don’t suffer from that yet or won’t because you look after yourself?
Mitch: No I don’t suffer from it. I always encourage those guys to drop the keys because I say to them, “Look – people want to hear the melody, they don’t want to hear you struggling to do the melody – they want to hear the melody! So why not drop the key if the song still sounds good in a lower key and you can sing the melody?” That’s what people want. They don’t care if it’s a pitch don’t. It’s okay.
That really hit me when I went to see Def Leppard and I went to see a guitar player friend. I was all caught up in it because Phil (Collen) was a fairly new friend of mine. We had just written and he’d played on my record and I was so excited to see them for the first time. I was his guest.
They sounded fantastic and Joe (Elliot) was killing it. I said to him, “This is so great”. He said, “You do realise that the keys are way dropped down”, I said, “No, I didn’t realise that. I don’t care. It’s killer!”. That was the first time I realised that that was the way to go. I really think that that’s a good thing. In some cases it’s bad if the song doesn’t sound like the song anymore. (Laughs)
Glenn: Then drop it altogether.
Glenn: All the band has to say is, “We don’t do that one anymore but we do this one though that works better for the vocals!”.
Glenn: Like some of the big rock artists that are in their late 60’s or early 70’s now. It’s impossible for most of them to sing top notes like they could when they were about 25! So drop your keys so you still sound good.
Mitch: Yeah that’s okay and everybody knows that. You are right and I agree with that. I think music is more important than ego. So get rid of the ego, nobody cares if you are hitting the high C. Sing the songs. That’s what people want. They want to hear you sing the songs.
Glenn: There’s no doubt than when you are onstage you drink water etc. so you don’t dry out up there?
Mitch: Yeah! I was pretty dry in L.A. to be honest because I am not used to it. Nashville and L.A. are the opposites. Nashville is super humid – you couldn’t get anymore humid and L.A. is dry. I get there and I was like ‘Ugh!’ Parched! I sang okay that night. I listened to the ‘Anything At All’ recording from there and it sounds good but I didn’t have any extra.
Normally when I sing I have this extra gear and things are easy and I can go where I want and do what I want. But in L.A. it was all I could do because of the dryness was to hit the notes. I was able to do that and again, I probably sounded more rock. Rock singing is about struggle. It’s about angst and struggle. If you are cue on your game and you are just too good, you don’t sound rock! You know?
Glenn: Yeah. I can see where you are coming from there. That does make a lot of sense.
Mitch: Yeah! I discovered that in the years here because on the ‘Making Noise’ record I purposely did not sing before I would sing so I was struggling. I would sound like I was struggling and I was struggling. That’s a technique that I have developed that I put to good use on the new record and people seem to really dig the vocals. It worked!
Glenn: Yeah! Be more Lemmy than Pavarotti! It works better for Rock!
Mitch: Yeah! Right! (Laughs)
Glenn: Will that be something when people come in to record their own albums that you say, “Try this, it worked for me on my last album”?
Mitch: No I don’t have that luxury. I have to get my singers ready to sing as much as I can and get them at the top of their game but I do leave it up to them. I think I have an advantage in a way because I’m a singer. They are coming in and thinking, ‘Okay, this guy’s a singer, he’s my producer. He’s going to know if I’m not good so I better be good’.
I have an advantage of just being myself. I get their best performance just automatically. I have that advantage of being a producer of singers. It really works. So far it works. The guys I’m producing are not intimidated. They’re energised. That never occurred to me until it started happening and I could see it. I thought, ‘This guy is singing at his best right now. This is fantastic!’. I didn’t have to really say much. They just do it because they know they have to.
Glenn: They want to impress you as well as impress themselves.
Mitch: Yeah they don’t want to let me down. They know that it’s got to be a certain level. That might sound really egotistical for me to say it and I don’t mean it like that. It’s an accidental thing that happens that I never thought of but I can see it happening. It happens over and over and over again.
So yes, I do produce vocals, yes I do guide them and I do suggest. I do all those things. You are in the heat of the moment and you are in the heat of battle when you are making a record. It’s a fascinating energy that you are in and a place that you are in that creative space. Everything is so important. It’s invigorating. It’s an awesome experience really.
Glenn: That’s great. Plus the fact they want to put a good performance down because that is what’s going to go on their album. They don’t want to do a sh*tty performance because every time they hear it they are going to say to themselves, “Oh I could have done better on that”.
Glenn: Also fans might say the same. It works that way as well.
Mitch: So far, knock on wood, every singer I’ve had has told me that this is the best that they’ve ever sounded. I’m doing something right there. It’s really gratifying.
Glenn: What would you like to say regarding the Van Halen audition that has appeared a lot in many interviews in the last few months?
Mitch: The Van Halen thing was a big deal and people really care about that. People ask me about it all the time. I went for over 10 years where nobody said a word about it because I never told anybody about it for 10 years. In the last 10 years I leaked it out a little bit at a time. Then I finally agreed to do the documentary ‘Mitch Malloy – Van Halen’s Lost Boy’ and from there, that was two years ago, so for the last few years I have talked a lot about Van Halen. But honesty, it’s only been in the last two years since that documentary came out. Before that, I would never talk about it. I don’t mind it – it happened.
I enjoy talking about it to be honest because it was an important part of my life and obviously a short part. But still, an important one. Now that ‘It’s The Right Time’ is out as well, people love that song, I’m playing it live and they like it live – it’s working. It’s fun because people care about it. As an artist, you just want people to care about what you’re doing and people care about Van Halen. They find it interesting so it’s fun to talk about it in that regard. But yeah, it was a very short lived thing and I’ve done so many different things other than that. People care about it so I like talking about it.
Glenn: That’s awesome! I was thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if Mitch Malloy did a support slot on a tour with Van Halen?’ I bet that has been mentioned before but that would be pretty cool.
Mitch: That would be amazing. I doubt that would ever happen but certainly if they offered I would take them up on it. That would be a gift from them to me. Absolutely! I don’t anticipate that happening.
Glenn: At least you did that audition. You were there, you recorded with them and you can say, “I played with Van Halen one way or another”. It’s all big kudos. There’s no doubt that because you auditioned to play with Van Halen, you can actually say to people, “I’ve done that!” and in a way it can create an interest in you because you’ve done something with that band.
Mitch: Absolutely! It gives people a reason to think that you’re okay. Right?
Mitch: They think, ‘Well if Eddie Van Halen wanted him, he must not be bad, so let me go check him out”. Then often at times, they really like what I do. Not always of course. There are Van Halen fans that I’m sure don’t like what I do. But there are a lot that do like what I do. I’m lucky in that regard. The Dave & Dave who just did a big podcast on me, they love what I do and they want me in the band. They probably had only heard of me because of Van Halen. So there you go.
Glenn: It worked for you personally on your own career. You can’t knock that whatsoever can you? You didn’t get the position but it furthered your own career in the long run so to speak.
Mitch: Yeah it gives people a reason a reason to check me out. If they like what they hear then it’s a win for both of us!
Glenn: Exactly. You can’t fault. Do you have any cool road stories you’d like to talk about?
Mitch: I think my cool road stories about to happen. (We laugh)
Glenn: Good answer! I like that. (We laugh again). What would you say the proudest moments have been in your career so far. Apart from the Van Halen episode, what else comes to mind?
Mitch: I think my appearance on Jay Leno. I’m extremely proud of that. I’m glad that’s on YouTube. I sang well that night. I’m proud of that. He was very nice to me. I’m proud that I just headlined the Whisky in L.A. That’s the most recent feather in my cap. I didn’t really realise until I got there to be honest… I’d heard a lot of mutterings, “Oh wow! The Whisky, The Whisky!”. I said, “Yeah, yeah – it’s cool!”, but I’d never been there. I had nothing to compare it to or no reason to think it was great. The minute I walked in I thought, “Okay, this something”. So that has to go down as my most recent proud moment.
Glenn: We’ve covered quite a few different things but are there any things that you’d like to talk about that we’ve not covered so far?
Mitch: I want encourage people to come out to this tour. You won’t be disappointed. I think I’m really at the top of my game and one of the best bands I have ever had is backing me. They are super talented guys. Two of my guys are from ‘The Queen Extravaganza’ band.
Mitch: Yeah! Exceptionally talented people. It’s going to be a great, great tour. Come out and see me and say ‘Hi!”.
Glenn: Well I’ll come out and see you on September 17th and I hope others will do that too.
Mitch: Thank you!
Glenn: No problem. Whereabouts did the other members come from? How did you select those guys?
Mitch: The guitar play is Tristan Avakian who played on my debut record and then went on to be the lead guitar player in the band ‘Red Dawn’. It’s a very, very underground AOR band that a lot of people don’t know about but people in England who are really into the scene know about them. ‘Red Dawn’ was the band that happened after I left the band before ‘Red Dawn’. Tristan and my paths have almost crossed there as well. I had just left the band and they got some new members, obviously a new singer and changed the name from ‘Infinity’ to ‘Red Dawn’.
That’s how I met Tristan and he was on my first record a little bit. I’ve known him since then. Then he went on to do all sorts of things. He was picked by Brain May to be in ‘The Queen Extravaganza’ band. We reconnected so he is working with me again. I got the drummer through him. He’s in ‘The Queen Extravaganza’ Band now and he’s going to be in Europe on tour with that at the same time he is touring with me. He jumps from one to the other.
Glenn: Wow! That’s hard!
Mitch: Yeah! So they fly him to meet me and then he finishes with me and goes to them and then he goes back to me.
Glenn: That’s some scheduling that!
Mitch: His name is Tyler Warren. Tyler is absolutely fantastic. He’s a drummer/singer and a great human being. I love having him on board with me. Those are the few big shots in the band.
Glenn: Well it’s been an absolute pleasure talking to you. I’m looking forward to meeting you in person and seeing the show in Sheffield on 17th September. You’ll like the place!
Mitch: Fantastic! Man, it’s going to be awesome!
Glenn: It’s going to be a good night! Right brother, I’ll you get off but it’s been a pleasure.
Mitch: Okay, I appreciate you.
Glenn: Take care Mitch. Bye.
Mitch: Thank you. Bye.
European Dates for the 'It's The Right Time Tour'
Sept. 9 - Barrington Theatre - Bournemouth, UK
For more information on Mitch Malloy consult the Official Website:
A big thank you to Tracy Ariff for placing me in touch with Mitch to do the Interview; Noelle Kim of NKPR Mgmt & Production for the Photographs and of course Mitch himelf for this in-depth and revealing Interview