LOCHINVAR is a band who released a great pure melodic hardrock album some time ago titled 'It came from the 80s'. An album which will please anyone that lieks the 80s sounds of LITA FORD, HEART, VIXEN... The band also released an experimental pop/rock CD, but happily this was an one-time only project. Now the band is hard at work on releasing a new CD filled with melodic hardrock. Time for me to let them share their story with me. I did the interview with main members Paula, John and Brett about the past, present and future.

Please tell us about LOCHINVAR?

Paula:  The band was founded in 1987 by me, Paula Blade, and a dude named Steve Rabeler.  I named the band after a poem by Sir Walter Scott, the same writer who wrote Ivanhoe.  It was one of my favorite poems.  After Steve left for New Jersey, I searched for someone who was a great collaborator and excellent musician.  In 1989, I met John Walker, and he was perfect for the style I was into then, and he was searching for a great singer and collaborator as well.

John:  I had lit out on my own after my previous band broke up, and recorded 5 songs with a drummer friend of mine without vocals.  I pretty soon realized that I sucked as a lead singer, so I took the tape and started looking around for a vocalist/lyricist/songwriter to finish the songs up.  I tried a bunch of people, but nothing clicked until I met Paula.  The fact that she was a woman was a bonus as far as I was concerned, because it made things sound a little different.

Paula:  Musically, we were perfect for each other....

John:  But personally, sometimes we drive each other nuts!  I think it's what makes us great collaborators, there's a little tension between us that makes things interesting.

Paula:  When people have as much passion for music as we did (still do), it can be pretty volatile!  When we get on stage together now, it's one of the most dynamic things I've ever experienced, and that has never changed.  John left the band in 1991 due to artistic differences.  I stumbled around and tried to keep going, and I did for a while, but it wasn't the same without John.  There were a few mediocre versions of Lochinvar playing the Dallas/Fort Worth circuit until 1992, when I met and fell in love with Bret Blade, guitar god/poet/Renaissance Man.  My idea of the perfect love, and a great guitarist!  We put a real version of Lochinvar out there in 1992, and soldiered on with original drummer Gregg Schmidt and a revolving cast of bass players.  About the time we started burning out on things, Bret and I were asked to join a prog-metal band called Vigl-Annie - we were hired guns brought in to make the band a sensation, so that's what we did.  That was a great 2 1/2 years where all we had to do was show up, play, and get treated like rock stars!  A no-brainer!  In Lochinvar, we wrote everything, advertised, promoted, booked, etc., etc., so this was like a fun-filled vacation.  But Bret was having to rework all the guitar lines to make them sound right, and I was redoing all the lyrics and melody lines anyway, and we just got tired of it.

John:  After I left the band I put a three piece together called Bad Dog. That fizzled out in '94, so I went back to school to work on my MBA.  In 1995, I somehow got Paula's address and sent her a Christmas card, just to say hello.  We hadn't spoken in almost 5 years by then.  I wasn't even sure if she'd remember who I was!

Paula:  John sent me that Christmas card in 1995, and that was it.  I had missed John and I was dying to see if Bret and John could mesh musically as well as personally, and they did.  I felt like I was given Christmas!  It was a dream come true for me to play with John again and having Bret by my side, it was family.  It felt right.

Was LOCHINVAR your first band?

Paula:  No, it was probably my fourth of fifth band.  I was in a band called Shades of Grey, it was a Fleetwood Mac, Heart, Jethro Tull type thing.  That was the first real band for me.

Bret:  My first band was called SEVEN.  We played progressive heavy metal, half original, half covers.  Kreator, Metal Church, Testament, that type stuff.

John:  I was in several bands before Lochinvar, but nothing particularly memorable.  The last one before Lochinvar was called SnoWhite, it was your basic glam cover band with some originals thrown in.  I think we did one gig.

Your debut CD 'It came from the 80s' is very 80s based Melodic Rock, which bands inspired you?

Paula:  Heart mostly back then. Also Dokken, Warlock, etc. I listened to everything from classical to downright weird, I still do.

Bret:  Laaz Rockit, LeMans, Ozzy, Savatage, Dokken, etc.

John:  Priest, Whitesnake, Blue Murder, Dokken, and Gary Moore.  Throw King's X, Rush, and Kate Bush in there too.

You also released another CD but that one consisted of experimental 90s poprocksongs, why was that?

Paula:  One of the songs, "The Raven" was the first song ever written by me. It had a sentimental appeal, and the metal scene in the states took a nosedive.  After John and I reunited, along with Bret, we all agreed it was time to try something different.  Alternative was hitting hard and heavy, we needed to try to find our niche again.  We love hard rock and metal, but there was no market here in the states, and we wanted to see what worked and what didn't, so we put together Knight Songs.  "The Raven" was #2 behind "Driving Force" at one point, both on the charts and kicking butt!  If you don't experiment and try new things, you won't grow as a musician.  It's funny that "The Raven" was put in the category of experimental 90's pop/rock,
the song is 20 years old!

Bret:  I feel the same as Paula, people were searching for something different, so we were.

John:  We can do a lot of different things, we've never suffered for lack of material in this band.  Things were really pretty screwed up in the states, and we didn't see where we fit in.  So we tried something a little off the wall just to get our bearings.  In hindsight it probably wasn't the best move, but it seemed right at the time, and we learned a great deal from doing it.  Actually, a lot of the reason it sounds like it does is because at the time, we didn't have a reliable drummer and we were doing a lot of shows as a trio, just acoustic guitars and vocals.  So we were going with that sound.

So your next release will be a return to the melodic rocksound of your great debut...

Paula:  Yes, there seems to be a demand for it and it will be fun to bring metal back.

Bret:  Yes, it will be melodic but with a harder edge.

John:  We're pretty decent guitarists, I think we want to show that side of the band a little more this go-round.

What are the plans for the next coming months? Have you written any new songs, please tell us about them?

Paula:  I'm going to finish my two solo CD's I've been working on simultaneously.  After that's done I'll write with John and Bret some new material for Lochinvar.  Bret has some ideas he's working on, and John has some ideas, plus we have finished material that will definitely go on the CD. It's very melodic but heavy stuff that our fans have come to expect from us. We'll release the CD in late summer, if everything goes right.

Bret:  My plans are to stay in the studio and write new stuff for the next CD.  We have written some new material that has a bit of a bite to it.  We've grown alot as musicians in the past few years, and it's going to be great to get the new stuff out to the people.

John:  My wife and I just had a new baby daughter on February 1, so I've been spending most of my time thinking about other things besides the band!  I have a couple of new tunes I'm working on which are along heavier lines.  Hopefully we'll be able to bring in some new influences to keep it fresh for us.

Thanks for the interview and good luck in the future!

Paula:  Thank you Gabor, for the opportunity to talk with you - you've been very kind!