Interview – Geir Arne Dale (Humbucker)

Excellent drummer (and a great guy too!) Geir Arne “The Cannon” Dale talks to The Headbanging Moose about the history of his Hard Rock band Humbucker, their excellent new album King of the World, the music scene in Norway, his “dream tour”, his favorite Canadian bands, among some other cool stuff. And, of course, he answers the mysterious question “Who is Dirty Nelly?”

GA LIVE HAUGESUNDThe Headbanging Moose: Let’s start with some details about the history of Humbucker: although the band was created back in 1998, it was only in 2012 with your debut album R.O.C.K.S that Humbucker really became alive. In addition to that, your official website states that “In 2000 the band had five original songs and made a demo that did not do any good for the band. In 2002, due to difficulties combining their day jobs with the rocking, the band called it a day and took a “vacation” that lasted until 2010!” What exactly happened with you guys? And why was that 2000 demo so harmful for the band?

Geir Arne Dale: Well, the demo wasn’t directly harmful for the band, but it was what it was. We didn’t have a singer back then for starters. Three of us shared the vocal duties and let’s face it: We’re better musicians than singers so the demo was made more for ourselves than to make something happen for us. But you know, we believed even back then in our stuff so we shipped it around a bit. Most of the record companies didn’t even answer us. And the few that did were very short in their description of the project’s future: “No!” 🙂

Back then we were only in it for fun, and in 2002 we thought a vacation would do us good as some of us changed day jobs and all of a sudden had to leave for weeks at a time so it became difficult to get the rehearsal routines going as they should. We also was, let’s say, a bit tired of each other I think after heavy partying for four years. We didn’t take it too serious back then. The focus was all wrong. We were all like Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. Taking all the fun right there and then, not caring about the future, so a break was needed. After eight years, in 2010 we started again to see if it still worked. It certainly did and after getting new singer Jan Boen in, we decided in 2012 we had everything we needed to make a record. The before mentioned five songs from 2000 were re-recorded and ended up all on the first album R.O.C.K.S, so something good came out of the old days eventually! The response from that album was mind-blowing and that gave us a reason to do another one as we have just done. Who would have thought that back in ‘02! 🙂

LogoTHM: The beautiful country of Norway is renowned for its many Black Metal bands, such as Mayhem, Burzum, Gorgoroth, Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, Satyricon and many others that pretty much helped define that music genre. How was it to grow up as a Hard Rocker in an essentially Black Metal country, and how difficult it is for any Hard Rock band to succeed there?

GAD: WOW! You’ve done your homework Sir! You know the black metal guys did their music and we did ours. It wasn’t hard at all cause in the eighties the melodic hard rock scene was just as big in Norway, if not bigger, and the two genres didn’t do too much together. The black metal bands from Norway have really set their marks on the world. They’ve done a great job for themselves for sure. And all these bands have created more interest for Norwegian rock in general too, so it’s all a good thing and I think everyone that does any kind of Norwegian rock owe these guys a big thank you. They’ve been excellent promoters for all of us.

THM: As mentioned in our album review, King of the World is a truly kickass Hard Rock album. How was the whole creative process for the album? What worked well, and what ideas did you guys have to give up because you felt they were not good enough?

GAD: The writing process was very relaxed as we wrote the songs in between gigs during last part of 2012 and during 2013. We were finished with the last song just a few weeks before we went into studio to start the album. Like I said before, we thought we would only make one album so we didn’t rush anything. We wrote the new songs just as much to widen our live set. When it was clear that we wanted to do a second album, we were almost there with the songs. We recorded drums and bass in our nearest town called Notodden with acclaimed engineer Njal Frode Lie. Then we moved the operation to Trondheim. That’s why we did the drums and bass in Notodden so we didn’t have to drag the drums to Trondheim which is pretty far from where we live.  We met up with one of Norway’s most decorated producers, Mr. Hallgeir Rustan. From a small country like Norway, he has produced albums that have sold worldwide some 25 million copies all together and he’s also produced over 40 Top-10 hits in the UK so he knows what he’s doing. I went to school with him in 86/87 and we’ve kept in touch from time to time since then. We all had a great time in the studio except Lars Stian, the bass player, who did his part in Notodden and had to stay home to perform his day job during the time we were in Trondheim. The atmosphere was great with lots of jokes being thrown around. Hallgeir has an incredible know-how when it comes to arranging songs and he did an amazing job for us. He’s the one who founded Stargate you know so he’s a guy who knows his business. When his two partners decided to move to the USA, he stayed home and is doing his thing from there. We can’t thank him enough for the job he did for us and co-producing with him is one of the nicest experiences I’ve had in years! I really hope we get to do it again ‘cause I think we then would be able to develop our music and sound further.

We’ll see… no one knows what the future brings, but I don’t see us do another album without Hallgeir… With Hallgeir to produce and engineer, Beau Hill to mix and master, Mr. Cordelières on the artwork and Hugh Gilmour to design the package and put everything together, we really feel we have found ourselves a “Dream Team” here! I can’t remember a thing that really didn’t work well actually. We had a great time working with this album and it was all a joy.

THM: This question might sound silly, but one of the best songs of the album, Dirty Nelly, seems to be inspired by some special girl. Who’s she? What’s the story behind that song?

KING OF THE WORLD PIC - BAND stone3GAD: Hahaha! Well, it’s a cool question cause it could very well be for real but I’m very happy  to say it’s not!:-) I wrote that song so I can tell you it’s all pure fiction. I’ve never, thank GOD, experienced a girl like that. At least not that I can remember…and I think I would have! BUT: There’s probably thousands of “Dirty Nellys” out there and guys who wonder what their baby’s up when she comes home with the morning light with her boots in her hands so who knows…maybe someone will recognize the situation…:-) Thank you for liking the song.  I appreciate that. It’s one of my favorites on the album too!

THM: How about your tour plans to promote the new album? Are you playing only in Norway, or are there already any dates being scheduled for other European countries and even other parts of the world, like North America?

GAD: We are going to tour Norway as much as we can this year. You know, it’s easiest for us as we’re here. But in September we plan to embark on a month and a half tour in Europe. We would most certainly love to tour North America if we could! We have a lot of favorites from that part of the world: Coney Hatch, Triumph, Loverboy, Rush…you guys have produced some serious rock bands during the years so we’ll do it if we can. Only trouble is that it’s so damn expensive you know, so we will have to see how the new album does for a starter and take it from there. But who knows? We would love to shake hands with you at a show one day Sir!:-)

THM: What would be Humbucker’s “dream tour”, I mean, which bands would you just love to go on tour together, and why?

GAD: That’s a great question and a very tricky one to answer actually…there’s so many…but if I have to mention one band, I think maybe a tour with Whitesnake would be great for us. Mainly because of the audience. I think the audience would have picked up on us a bit too as both bands represents the same time period in music style. I think a lot of their fans would have like our stuff too, so some gigs with them would have done us real good…

THM: When Humbucker started in 1998, Hard Rock was still really big on the radio and TV, fans loved buying the albums of their favorite bands, and there were no such thing as illegal downloads, so it was basically a paradise for any new Hard Rock bands and an easier path to success. On the other hand, nowadays any new or independent band has to work their asses off to get some recognition, and even so no monetary return is guaranteed. How do you see this evolution of music and media, and how does it impact what Humbucker are doing or plan to do in the future?

Humbucker_KOTW

Album Review – Humbucker / King of the World (2014)

GAD: It’s really hard to say what will happen. All I know is that if people keep wanting music without paying for it, I think the music scene will be very boring in a few years. When all the old heroes and arena bands are gone, few can take over cause they will never get there ‘cause of devastating income. It costs a lot to keep a band alive and if you don’t get a radio hit or something on TV, it’s very hard to make it to arena-level just by touring. I think that if we want new arena bands to continue we just have to pay for their music, simple as that.

But the world moves on you know so we have to adapt in a way. I’m just not sure that we will ever have the time we had in the eighties and early nineties again. We probably never will, but one can only carry on as long as possible and hope something “happens”… My only advice to people would be: Buy the music! Everyone can afford it so why not? Music business today with all the piracy and streaming is like asking a carpenter to build you a new dog house for your Shetland Sheepdog…after putting a lot of work into it, after he’s made an awesome place for your dog, you don’t want to pay him for his work? I just don’t get that…..

Our mixer/masterer Beau Hill in the US said that if we had released this music in the eighties, we would have been instant worldwide dominators. Today that’s not possible. That says a lot…

THM: The album art from King of the World is awesome and couldn’t be more Hard Rock than that. Why and how did you choose Ludovic Cordelières of Rusalka Design for designing the front cover, and how much did the band influence on his process of generating it?

GAD: Thank you very much for those nice words! I appreciate you bringing that up because Mr. Cordelières most certainly deserves it! If you want to see how he made it, and other amazing artworks of his, please visit his website at www.rusalkadesign.com. For an album called “King Of The World”, I don’t think anyone could have made a better cover! It’s just the perfect thing…That “guy” on the cover IS the king of the world! 🙂

The cover was an already existing artwork of Cordelières called “Monarch”. I was searching the internet for pictures to use for the cover (The album was originally going to be called “One Size Fits All”) when his site turned up. I looked at this picture and as we also had a song called “King Of The World” on the album, I just thought that would be perfect and totally awesome for the title and we talked about it at rehearsal and decided to go for it. I then sent Ludovic a mail asking if he would let us use it. Luckily he answered back with a clear yes, and I then asked if we could add some stuff and suggested a couple of things added to make it more “Humbucker-ish” to put it that way and he didn’t mind at all. He’s a fantastic guy and I loved working with him. Everything came back with exactly the right addings and it turned out great. We added the “R.O.C.K.S.” cover under the left foot there and added some more instruments, had our “H” placed on the hat and “Priscilla” on the nametag on the honey box. “Priscilla” is a song title from our debut album, so people who have that album knows “who’s there”… That’s pretty much it. The rest is the original artwork. I asked Hugh Gilmour what he thought of it and he said: “It’s classic, a bit provocative and very rock and roll! I Love it!”  For us that means: Perfect! 🙂

KING OF THE WORLD BOOKLET center pic 2 copyTHM: How much do you know about Canadian Heavy Metal and Hard Rock? Are any Canadian bands part of your day-to-day playlist? If so, which are your favorite ones and why?

GAD: Personally, that’s a very easy question to answer. There’s a lot of great Canadian bands! Always was too! I have to say I’m a huge Coney Hatch fan! “This ain’t love” is one of my favourite songs to date! I love the drum sound on that record! I was stunned when I heard it and I still enjoy listen to them today. Triumph is another favorite. I think that the “All The King’s Horses/Carry On The Flame” track from their “Surveillance” album is one of the finest pieces of music ever made in the genre. The groove and tempo when “Carry On…” takes over is just awesome! And the vocal lines on that song are amazing with one of the coolest “bridges” out there. (As a matter of fact, I had to listen to it again as we speak!) I think Thom Trumbo did a phenomenal job producing that album at the time. Again with a great drum sound exactly as I like it! I had my youth time in the eighties you know so there you go… 🙂

THM: Thanks a lot for the interview. Do you have any final words to all Heavy Metal and Hard Rock fans worldwide, especially to the ones in Canada that have recently discovered the music from Humbucker?

GAD: Thank YOU Sir! You know, we need all the help we can get in this business and fine people like yourself who devote your time to pick up bands that you don’t see on the cover of Rolling Stones Magazine every day, is fantastic! It’s really really helpful and very appreciated indeed! To the fans in Canada who like our music: We are honored that you do! And if you like “King Of The World”, please check out our debut album ‘R.O.C.K.S’ too! Due to change of distribution partners in Norway, the new album is unfortunately delayed worldwide but will be available at Amazon and wherever you buy your fine music during first half of April. We don’t take anything for guaranteed and every new fan is a thrill! If you want to join our Facebook page we would surely appreciate it! Just follow the link here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Humbucker/194616527226293.

Please also visit our website at www.humbucker-rocks.com for more news on the band.

Thank you very much again and cheers to everyone from Norway!! 🙂

Links
Humbucker Official Website | Facebook | YouTube

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Interview – Larry Paterson (Iron Knights)

Heavy Metal drummer and writer Lawrence ‘Larry’ Paterson (Arbitrater, Metalhead, Chokehold, Blaze Bayley, Raven Lord, Iron Knights) talks about his drumming style and career, his passion for World War II, his books, Blaze Bayley, Iron Maiden, his current band Iron Knights, and more.

Larry_PatersonThe Headbanging Moose: You have already played in your career with many different bands such as Chokehold, Blaze Bayley, Iron Knights and Raven Lord. What are the main differences you found playing with each one of those bands? Did you have to adapt your style to their music, or did they accept your ideas in their creative process?

Larry Paterson: Actually, I never really adapted to suit the bands – it’s more you bring what you have into it. You will always alter what you are doing slightly anyway to match the other people’s playing; but the same influences always come into play really, even if you are headed in slightly different directions. From the bands you mentioned above, in three of them I had a lot of creative input into everything; the drumming itself, but also ideas for arrangements and so on. I don’t play guitar well at all, or sing, but I can still hear ideas that may or may not work, in the same way that guitarists have good drum ideas. That way it becomes a real collaboration between everybody and the songs can really evolve into the magic of that band. If there’s no magic – then you haven’t got the right guys 🙂

Raven Lord was one where creative input wasn’t wanted at all, so that didn’t last long for me 😉

Chokehold, Blaze Bayley and Iron Knights all have/had the same buzz for me – particularly on stage. Good straight down the line heavy metal, maybe with a twist here and there. That’s what I like to write and play 🙂

THM: There’s a new Iron Knights song available for download in the band’s official website, called Destroyer, which by the way is really good. Is that exactly what the fans can expect from the new Iron Knights album that you’re planning to release in 2014? How about future tours? Are you planning on touring only the UK and parts of Europe, or are you going to extend the tour to other parts of the world such as Latin America, USA/Canada, Australia and Japan?

LP: Thanks very much; glad you like it. It’s definitely the way things are headed 🙂 Iron Knights really needed to evolve from what it started out as, and it has done so. The new stuff coming out is sounding really strong to my ears and I can’t wait to get it on the road. Ultimately, it’s a new band so will take time to grow, but we want to play anywhere and everywhere that we can. May take a while to get out of the UK – and we still have a TON of work to do here – but we want to play anywhere that wants us!

saxontour4THM: You have just finished a tour with the band/project called James Rivera’s Sabbath Judas Sabbath in the UK. Can you give us more details about this project? Who are the other musicians in the band? I saw the setlist for some of the concerts and it’s an awesome mix of the heaviest Priest classics with the best songs from the Dio years. How were the songs selected for this tour?

LP: It’s good fun this one. Beam (the bassist from Iron Knights and SJS) and I met James when we supported Vicious Rumors in Europe. At the time Iron Knights was the original lineup and falling apart more and more each day. But James already had this thing going in other countries where he would fly in and do the cover set. Beam and I grew up on this stuff, so it’s always a blast to play it and we got our friend Shoi Sengupta and Paul Nazakardeh in on guitars (both EXCELLENT players from the band De Profundis). James had the setlist which we added one or two tracks to and voila…we’re off. Great fun, and of course James can actually hit the notes in stuff like Painkiller and Screaming For Vengeance!

THM: Let’s imagine you had a similar type of project, but with focus on the material from all your previous bands, from your start with Arbitrater until today. If you had to select 15 or 20 songs to play on tour, which songs would you pick and why?

LP: Wow…that’s a hard question. Hmmm…well I can tell you that the reason for all the songs I choose would be because they have a lot of feel to me; either in the vibe of the song or sometimes just the speed (I like a bit of fast drumming every now and then!) Well, in no particular order they would be:

1. Judge And Jury (Arbitrater)
2. Choose Your Weapons (Arbitrater)
3. Life On Loan (Chokehold)
4. Legion (Chokehold)
5. Faith Of Fear (Chokehold)
6. The Man Who Would Not Die (Blaze Bayley)
7. Robot (Blaze Bayley)
8. Smile Back At Death (Blaze Bayley)
9. God Of Speed (Blaze Bayley)
10. City Of Bones (Blaze Bayley)
11. Voices From The Past (Blaze Bayley)
12. Comfortable In Darkness (Blaze Bayley)
13. Ludovico Technique (Metalhead)
14. Crack In The System (Blaze Bayley)
15. Post Work Syndrome (Chokehold)

That should make me sweat a bit 🙂

THM: You have written around 9 non-fiction histories of Germany’s Second World War U-boat service since the year 2000 due to your passion and interest in the Second World War. Could you give us more details about those books and where we can find them for sale? When did your passion for this type of topic start, and why did a Heavy Metal drummer like you suddenly decide to write many books about it? Have you ever turned any of the stories in your books into music, or are you planning to do so?

LP: Actually, I have been interested in WW2 since I was a kid. One of my Grandfathers was in the ANZACs in WW1 and the other in the Royal Navy in WW2 and they taught me that people were people no matter who they fought for. So I started to specialize in the German forces. My main areas of study were actually the Army and Waffen SS but I spent several years as a scuba instructor and was diving on a lot of German wrecks from the Second World War when I lived in France. That led to me writing a book about the U-boat service which became my specialist field. It’s important to me, this kind of history, and it’s a human story, not a political one. I have been lucky enough to meet some amazing people who served in all of the German forces, not to mention the Allied ones, and it’s always very humbling.

I haven’t actually written any songs about it – but there are plenty that feature war as a kind of theme.

THM: As a drummer and at the same time a connoisseur of World Wars, what’s your opinion about the Iron Maiden song Paschendale, which is about the Battle of Passchendaele that took place during the First World War and that had Canada as one of its most important players? Have you ever played this song live, with friends or by yourself?

LP: I think that is one of the best Maiden songs for years! My Grandfather (the ANZAC) was involved in that battle as part of the Australian Army and I have his memories of it that he wrote down before he died. Terrible battle! And Adrian Smith managed to capture all that imagery in the song. It’s brilliant musically and emotionally. I have jammed along with it, but never played it properly.

THM: You have also written a book about the Blaze Bayley band’s history entitled At The End Of The Day, published in 2009 with an update in 2010. Could you give us more details about this book, and where can we find it? How is your relationship today with Blaze and the other guys that played together with you then?

LP: Well, it’s still available through my website and as a Kindle version on Amazon. I had a great time in that band though we definitely didn’t see eye to eye by the time I left. I’m in touch with them all every now and then and hope they’re all moving on okay. I know Jay has Bull-Riff Stampede now which is doing great things here. Haven’t really spoken to Blaze much, but you never know what’ll happen in the future.

?;&????xV4xV4xV4xV4`^+&??????????CALZDFE02Cur.ZDFI02CML018001001THM: Canada is not very famous for generating a lot of heavy music bands, although we have some good ones such as The Agonist, Annihilator, Anvil, and of course one of the best progressive rock bands of all time, Rush. What do you know about the current Heavy Metal scene in Canada, and what are your favorite artists and bands from here (if any)? Are there any new Canadian bands that you would recommend us?

LP: Actually – I don’t know too much about the Canadian metal scene other than the bands you mentioned. I’ve only been to Canada once and loved it. The only band I saw was a covers band that did an amazing version of Sympathy For The Devil (can’t remember much else…..I had a beer or two…). I do remember thinking that the Canadian music scene in general seemed pretty healthy, but that was in the late 90s so no idea how it is now. It can be hard to break out of your home country, so I’m guessing there are lots of good bands that are trying to make that break.

THM: Thanks a lot for your time! Would you like to send a special message to all headbangers in Canada?

LP: Thank you for your interest! A special message? You guys live in a fantastic country – Keep metal alive – Support smaller bands – Don’t let the bastards grind you down!….and buy the new Motorhead album! 😉 Hope to get over there sometime.

Links
Larry Paterson Official Website | Facebook | Twitter YouTube
Iron Knights Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

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