BY NICKY BALDRIAN
The mighty Spock's Beard are finally starting to take off, thanks to the awesome recently issued "Day for night" album. Their music touches the progressive side of hard rock music baring similarites to SAGA, DREAM THEATER and YES. April 2000 sees the chaps on tour in the UK and Europe with DREAM THEATER, so I thought it was about time that Strutterzine covered this hugely influential band. So here I am finding myself chatting to main man Neal Morse (vocals, synths, piano, accoustic guitar).....Here's what went down.
Nicky:- Neal, can you give me some behind the scenes info of "Day For Night"?
Nela:- Behind the
scenes....hmmmm....well Nicky, we recorded most of the basic
tracks for the album in July of '98 , then overdubbed for a while
at home, then, when I flew out to LA in November to record a
bonus track for Europe, we recorded
Skin (which I had just written on the plane) and 'Can't get it wrong' which I'd written backstage at a gig in Germany that October. So those tracks were kind of afterthoughts you might say....and they kind of sound that way when you think about it....quite different from the rest of the stuff.
Nicky:- How did the recording process go?
Neal:- Oops...(LAUGHS) I think I just
answered that question! After that, Al did more parts at home as
did I, and Rich mixed it right after Christmas. It was really a
gas doing that record because it seemed to have a more
spontaneous feel to
it. Sometimes by the time we finish things I'm SO SICK OF IT, I can't even listen for a while, but with DFN I was into right away. maybe 'cause i wasn't there for some of the mix down. Ahh...there's some inside dope! I wasn't there when they mixed Skin, Hurt and Can't Get it Wrong. I had a gig with Eric Burdon in Colorado. They mixed those ones 'cause I figured they were the least important and probably wouldn't make the album anyway! Shows what I know!
Nicky:- Do you write the songs in the studio and how do you come up with your ideas?
Neal:- They just float around 'til they
land somewhere I guess! I don't know where they come from...and I
never know when they'll hit either. Sometimes I dream
them...other times I'll be watching 'Barney' with my kids
(because they make me) and I'll be idly playing guitar and play
the intro to Skin or something. One never knows.
Nicky:- What inspires your creativity?
Neal:- Anything and everything. I never
know what's going to show up in a song....little snipets of
conversations....something I heard on TV.....nothing at
all.....I'm inspired by lots of things. My kids give me a lot of
Nicky:- How has the response been to "Day For Night" as a whole?
Neal:- Quite good. each record gets stronger and stronger...
Nicky:- Your touring the UK with Dream Theater shortly, how did that come about?
Neal:- We've been talking to them for a
long time about doing a support tour. This time they asked and we
could actually do it and so far NO ONE'S backed out!
Nicky:- How long has Spock's Beard been together?
Neal:- Since 1992.
Nicky;- What did you do musically prior to Spock's Beard?
Neal:- I was trying to get a deal as a
singer/songwriter type guy for about a million years. That and
playing really lame cover gigs.
Nicky:- How do you think the general reception towards this style of music is these days?
Neal :- It's been pretty good for us.
Depends on what you consider to be good. We're happy to have fans
and people all over the world that think what we're doing is
valid. It's killer. There's not very many of them but it's
growing all the
Nicky:- What equipment do you use?
Neal:- I use a Roland D10 and a Boss Dr.
Synth live! I've had the same stuff for about the last 15 years.
the guys keep bugging me to get new stuff but...if it ain't broke
don't fix it. That's my motto.
Nicky:- Can you reveal any interesting stories from life on the road/
Neal:- Ryo. he's an interesting story
all by himself! he's our resident road maniac. every band's gotta
have one. Right after a gig in Holland , all the people from the
venue were just hanging out in the office after the gig and Ryo
runs in, jumps on the table and screams "SUCK MY
ASS!!". How's that for interesting?
Nicky:- Have you done any side projects?
Neal:- I've done a project with Mike
Portnoy, Roine Stolt and Pete Trewavas called TRANSAATLANTIC.
It'll be out in March and it shall astound.
Nicky:- Now that your out on the road supporting "Day For Night", can you tell me what's in the pipeline for the future?
Neal :- We're working on a new SB that
should be out in June. Also look for a proper double live and
video from our gig in Tilburg, Holland last year.
Nicky:- How do you keep coming up with the ideas for your music? There's such a complexed variety of music to listen to in Spock's Beard, surely you must get stuck sometimes, and wonder how the hell your going to make a song fall into place?
Neal:- All the time. But somehow, when
it needs to come together it always does. Or has so far anyway. I
pray everyday that it will continue. that's every creative
persons nightmare...you know...that one day you'll just have
'lost it'. People do...and I hope I'm never one of them.
Nicky:- Finally is is there a message that you would like to say to your fans here in the UK and Europe?
Neal:- Come out and support us on our UK run with DT!!! Thanks and keep up the good listening!!
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