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TRIUMPH - GIL MOORE

It took some time to get in touch with the original TRIUMPH member GIL MOORE, but on a rainy wednesday night I finally got a call from the drummer/vocalist of the legendary Canadian band that was formed almost 30 years ago, but has not been releasing new CDs since 1993. Happily, 2003 saw the band returning in the shape of a DVD/CD of the ‘Live at the US Festival 1983’, which celebrated it’s 20-year anniversary in 2003. And many more plans are on the table for TRIUMPH, but if we ever see a reunion with RIK EMMETT is doubtful, bit Gil was very friendly and kindly answered all my questions...

Hi Gil, what have you been up to these past 10 years?

Well after the last TRIUMPH album ‘Edge of excess’ the band quietly stopped doing all the big shows, and we moved on with our lives. My main focus was the ‘Metalworks Studios’ which I co-own, and in that studio we recorded a lot of well-selling albums, soundtracks and dvd’s the past decade, with top-sellers like N’SYNC, PRINCE, SEAN PAUL and more recently, the RUSH ‘Live in Rio’ DVD was recorded in our studio! As for TRIUMPH, well, in 2003 the fans finally got to see and hear the legendary TRIUMPH performance at the 1983 US Festival.

I must admit that the DVD was incredible to watch, very nice footage with an awesome sound quality. It was like the viewer was part of that enormous event that took place in California 20 years ago, how well do you remember that day yourself?
Well, it was a great day for us and I think for the rock community. All the great Rock and Hardrockbands were present that day. A day I will always remember, because performing in front of 500,000 people you don’t do too often. Steve Wosniak, the guy who organised the whole event, and is best known as being one of the inventors of the MacIntosh computer system, was a very friendly guy. We are still good friends, and this DVD is really important for the TRIUMPH collection.

I heard you’re gonna be releasing more TRIUMPH stuff from 2004 on...
Yes, we are completely going through our back catalogue and master tapes, and we are planning lots of TRIUMPH releases. First off, we are gonna release a DVD with live footage of the big arena shows we did in the 80s, but this DVD will also include lots of extra and bonus material. Then there will be a DVD with all the videos we made, it will be titled ‘Greatest Hits Videos’, and it will contain about 14 videos. Although we made 17 videos in total, 3 of them will not be included, as we actually are ashamed of those 3 (laughs...), but nevertheless, the DVD will contain 14 videos, so those 2 DVDs will be quite interesting I think. Further we are gonna re-release and remaster the entire TRIUMPH back catalogue. All the CDs will get new liner notes, artwork and extra/unreleased bonus material.

In other words, 2004 will be the year of the audio (and DVD) comeback of TRIUMPH!
Yes it will be a very big year for us, although we don’t exist as a band anymore, we have lots and lots of rare material from the past that needs to be heard.

Also rare demos?
I have so many demos just laying around. There is a big possibility to even release some CDs in the future that will contain unreleased TRIUMPH songs. So there’s a lot to come from TRIUMPH in the future!

But no reunion with former vocalist/guitarist RIK EMMETT?
I can not say it will never come to a reunion, but there are no plans at the moment for a TRIUMPH reunion. In the late 1980s Rik left the band and actually we never spoke with each other again. We both went our seperate ways and if there’s no friendship between bandmembers, then I don’t think it’s interesting to re-start a band again. We live our own lives now, and even if Rik would call me someday to say he would like to play on stage with me and Mike (Levine – bass/keyboardplayer) I would not be sure if I would do it. But never say never, because life is like a Crystal Ball, you never know what happens...

I would truly hope for a return of TRIUMPH, and if it would happen, then you would probably use the big stage show again?
If TRIUMPH ever goes back to the stage, then the big arena/stage show with all the lights and laser equipment would definitely be part of it. I still have all the equipment, so that would be included definitely, but at the moment there are no plans at all for this to happen...

Let’s get back to TRIUMPH, you already said that the past 10 years you have been working in the Metalworks studios, but why didn’t you continue TRIUMPH as a band...
Actually I was fed up with the record companies’ attitudes. I mean, after we did ‘The sport of kings’ and ‘Surveillance’, the recordcompany kept on pushing us to write the songs they wanted to hear, which was mainly pop orientated radio ready tunes. And we didn’t want to do that, because TRIUMPH was a Rockband and I felt like this couldn’t go on for another decade, and I think you can clearly hear that on our last record ‘The edge of excess’, which saw TRIUMPH in it’s hardest and rockiest performance ever! We had a hitsingle from the album called “Troublemaker”, which was used for the movie ‘Hellraiser’, and we kinda rocked very hard on that final TRIUMPH record, as we wanted to get away from the record companies involvements on how we should sound. And after that last record, I didn’t want to continue making records without having fun making them, so I focused on my studios, ‘The Metalworks Studios’. Lots of great albums have been mixed here, and 2004 will also see a big production from the movie industry being produced here, namely a movie from EDDIE KRAMER, called
‘Festival express’ which is a story on the band GRATEFUL DEAD. Really big-time Hollywood stuff being done in our studio, I look forward to see that in the cinema...

And recently RUSH recorded/mixed their live CD/DVD in your studio...
Yeah and RUSH are really good friends of us. Especially Alex (Lifeson – bass) has been a very good friend of mine for many years now, so working with them was just great.

Aren’t you jealous on RUSH, because they made it big worldwide, while your band TRIUMPH just became known in the US and Canada...
Well, the thing was that we never focused ourselves on Europe or other countries outside the US and Canada. For us it was like making an album, and then touring US and Canada, and then get back making another album, and so on. We mainly focused on the US and Canada in the 1980s, and never even thought about heading to Europe. Maybe we made the wrong choice, and could have reached more people if we had come over, but at the moment you didn’t thought about. It was like you were touring the US because you were selling so many records in that country, so you didn’t focus on other countries. Also the big touring kinda broke me up in the end, because every town you played was the same. At one point, you were constantly touring, month after month, each night a different city, and then you forget where you’ve been, and so when we were playing in Cleveland one night you said to the audience ‘Hello Dallas!’, and then the crowd went crazy. It were crazy times, and then you long back home, because so many touring years break you up eventually and then it’s nice to be home and calm down for a
while.

Well, let’s go through some TRIUMPH albums from the past, the first 2 TRIUMPH albums...
Pfeeww, thats a long time ago. It was the mid 1970s and we were only playing the clubscene. It was the beginning for us as a band, and we were kinda searching for the right style.

‘Just a game’ from 1979...
I have a funny story on this one, because we were recording this one at the same time ROD STEWART was recording his new record in a different studio next to us. This studio was called SOUNDS ENTERTAINMENT, and there was the Pinball machine on the hall. And we were kinda playing there when we didn’t record, and because the recording process went on very slowly, we started playing lots and lots of times this pinball machine. Therefore we choose the albumtitle ‘Just a game’. It was also a free game to play, so we didn’t had to spent any money on it (laughs).

And ‘Allied forces’ from 1981...
This was the first record we cut in our own studio ‘The Metalworks Studios’. From then on we recorded all our albums at the Metalworks, and I think this album also saw us getting to the sound we wanted to have. This was a very strong record with great songs like “Fight the good fight”. It also went on to sell very well in the US, just topping the Top 20 Billboard Album charts.

‘Never surrender’ from 1983, the year you played at the US festival...
Yeah that record we made together with the legendary EDDIE KRAMER (KISS, BEATLES, JIMI HENDRIX producer), so this was one of the first definite TRIUMPH records that just had to become big, and it also went on climbing the US charts once again.

One of your most popular records is ‘Thunder seven’ from 1985...
Yeah I think it is one of our best records, as it contains a bit of everything. The album was the first one on MCA RECORDS, the new label we found after leaving our former label RCA records. The album itself was one of the fastest selling records in the USA, as it got promoted quite heavily. The album went Gold and we could easily start a big tour to promote it even more.

One of the albumsingles from that record was “Follow your heart”, by far the best song ever recorded by TRIUMPH, I think especially the duo vocals between you and Rik are excellent in this song, with the chorus as one of the absolute highlights...
Thank you! Rik and I wrote this song together in a rehearsal hall somewhere on the tour of ‘Never surrender’. We wanted to have it a positive theme, so it was like “Follow your heart”!

Then the ‘The Sport of kings’ album in 1986...
Yeah a very polished affair, more and more into the AOR style, and this happened under pressure of the record company who wanted us to write radio hitsingles, because before this album we recorded an album the way we wanted it to sound, so nothing polished or anything. But this album was kind of the beginning of the end of TRIUMPH, as it didn’t sound like TRIUMPH anymore.

I still think it’s one of your best records!
It’s not a bad album at all, but it didn’t sound like TRIUMPH anymore. Just listen to the start of the album, with “Tears in the rain” and the big synthesizers at the start of that song. This was something we had never done, and happily the album sold very well once again, but it was different. The recording process was very hard. We went down to LA to record the album with a terrible producer, we hated him, and halfway he just went his own way, and during this hot summer we changed from producer, and eventually MIKE CLINK finished the job, and he was a great friendly guy.

The last album with RIK EMMETT was ‘Surveillance’ from 1987...
This is a good record, and although the record companies told us to change our sound we didn’t do it, as we didn’t co-operate this album received poor promotion and that’s really a pity because it is a great album.

With a guest performance of STEVE MORSE!
Yeah he was a friend of Rik and shared the same interest, so played a guitar solo on the album.

After the ‘Surveillance’ album it took 6 years to release a new CD as TRIUMPH, with a completely new line-up...
Rik had left the band and with all the record companies’ troubles it was no use to carry on for a while. However somewhere around 1991 we (me and Mike) started working on new TRIUMPH material, and eventually after 3 years and some new bandmembers we released ‘The edge of excess’. It was a long process, but the result I think is the best TRIUMPH album ever. A very hard rocking record which I am proud of.

So, 2004 will finally see more material from TRIUMPH...
Yeah, first off the 2 DVDs, ‘Live’ and ‘Greatest Hits Video’, and then the complete remastered back catalogue of TRIUMPH, with all sorts of bonus material. And maybe even CDs with unreleased demos.

2004 will be a sort of comeback year for TRIUMPH...
Yeah definitely!

OK, thanks for the interview...
Thank you!


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