Por Thiago Reis
Jamie Mallender é um baixista inglês com extensa carreira, tocando em diversas bandas, muitas vezes como músico de apoio em turnês. É justamente sobre uma dessas turnês que abordaremos ao longo dessa entrevista. Jamie foi indagado sobre diversos assuntos a respeito de sua entrada na banda de Tony Martin que excursionou para promover o álbum Scream sem parar entre os anos de 2005 e 2007 e em algumas ocasiões especiais entre 2008 e 2012. Com vocês, Jamie Mallender.
Fui para Steve Dawson com Oliver/Dawson Saxon recentemente e sou um membro do projeto paralelo Oliver’s Army – Graham Olivers. Também tenho minha própria banda, Swear Box e toco com The Paddy Maguire Band, Jenna Hooson Band, Iridium 77, e tenho meu próprio negócio para aulas de guitarra e baixo. Irei fazer shows acústicos também, e tenho agora uma assinatura para pedais de baixo. Chama-se Bass Squeezer, feita por uma companhia chamada Xvive. Tem sido bem sucedida e estamos falando em fazer mais pedais juntos. Lancei um álbum solo instrumental chamado Return to Bass e um EP chamado Tunes from the Mothership. Faz algum tempo que não lanço nada próprio, mas muitas gravações ocorreram no Starbug Studios recentemente – haverá algo lançado cedo ou tarde.
Embora tenha trabalhado muito pesado para tudo isso, foi tocando na banda de Tony que me projetou e criou meu perfil. Não iria estar onde estou se não posse Tony, então, obrigado Tony Martin por tudo!
Jamie Mallender is a english bass player, with a long career, playing with many bands, many times as a session musician on tours. Is justly about one of these tours that we talk below. Jamis was asked about subjects as his entry on Tony Martin Band to promote Scream album between 2005 ans 2007, and special meetings between 2008 and 2012. Ladies and Gentlemen, Jamie Mallender.
1) Thank you very much for this interview for Consultoria do Rock, Jamie.
My pleasure Thiago.
2) Tony Martin recorded an album called “Scream” in 2005 and began to tour to promote the album. How did you get the job?
I’d already worked with Tony. A couple of years before – there was a band called Bailey’s Comet who had to make some line-up changes just before going on their 1st tour. Tony joined on vocals, then I came in on bass and later Danny Needham joined us. That’s where Danny and I met Tony and we must have impressed him enough that when he went out on his solo tour, he wanted us in his band. That was of course, a great honour. I should note here, that if Dez Bailey hadn’t believed in me and given me a shot in Bailey’s Comet, none of this would ever have happened – and I’ll never forget that. So thank you Dez.
3) The band had Tony Martin on vocals, you on bass, Danny Needham on drums, Joe Harford and Fabio Cerrone on guitar and Geoff Nicholls (RIP) on keyboards. The curious fact is that Joe is Tony’s son. Tell us about this line up and the band interaction in the stage.
Well, everyone was very different, and they were all really very nice guys. Wisely, for his first solo band line-up, Tony definitely picked people who were nice and down to earth and trustworthy. We all had very different backgrounds and varying degrees of experience in the business. I mean, you’ve got Geoff on keys who had played with Sabbath for decades and many other huge names, Fabio who was a very well respected session player, recording artist and guitar teacher from Rome, Joe who was very young, quiet and inexperienced and then Danny and I, who grew up in the same city and both played a couple of hundred professional gigs a year but had never done anything big. You know, Joe was very young and brought a valuable younger perspective to things. Tony has a really silly sense of humour and Geoff was always joking around – Fabio was cool and laid back, confident but no ego – and Danny was and still is a ball of energy – always up for some fun. It worked well, from my point of view. A great blend and cast of characters. There wasn’t a lot of rehearsing before we went out to play because the schedule was so tight. We all learnt about each other as we went along gigging, and travelling around and fine tuned the songs and the show along the way. Fortunately we all got along and had a lot of fun on stage and off. I had a lot to learn about playing at that level and I will forever be grateful to Tony for the opportunity to do so.
4) The set list from that tour consisted basically with some Sabbath classics from the Martin era like “Headless Cross”, “When Death Calls”, “I Witness”, “Devil and Daughter” and “The Shining”, but the band brought some never played before songs to the set list, like “Eternal Idol”, “Dying for Love”, “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle” and “Valhalla”. Describe your feelings when you were playing those great songs and what’s your favorites to play live?
You know, when I got into heavy music Ozzy was a solo guy, Dio was a solo guy and Tony Martin was the singer in Black Sabbath and I loved those TM era records. I was a fan. My favourites were “The Shining”, “When Death Calls” and “Headless Cross” and to be on stages around the world playing those songs with Tony and Geoff – it’s difficult to describe how I felt. I guess I felt like a super hero. I’d always wanted to be a rock star, but I was in my 30’s and felt like it had passed me by. I’d begun to feel like a failure. Then all of a sudden I was in Russia playing Black Sabbath songs with Black Sabbath guys to 15,000 people. Wow!
5) What song from the Martin era you would like to play live but never had the chance?
“Anno Mundi”. I love that song!
6) The band never played songs from the Forbidden album. Is there a particular reason for that? What songs from that album you think would be a nice addition to the set list?
It was Tony’s band and he chose the set. Only Tony could answer that question. Any track Tony wanted to do I would have done to the best of my ability to make it sound as good as possible live. But personally, if I’m honest – I’m glad that TM didn’t acknowledge that album in the set. I didn’t enjoy that record anything like as much as the others. “Rusty Angels,” and, “Shaking Off The Chains,” were pretty cool songs but there are tracks on other albums never played live I would rather have a go at any day.
7) The band also played songs from the Scream album, like “Raising Hell”, “Bitter Sweet” and “Scream”. How the crowd reacted to those “new” songs?
The crowds loved those new songs. They were awesome tracks and Tony cleverly chose the tunes that would be easy for someone in the audience who didn’t have the album to get into right away. And it worked, we sold a lot of copies of the Scream album on tour. Until the label went bust!
The band played an extensively tour in 2005, in countries like Russia, Hungary, Italy, Germany, Croatia, Sweden, Norway, Austria, among several others. Tell us some fun stories of the road, mainly because you had Geoff Nicholls (RIP) in the band, a very funny man.
We were going away on tour, so Danny and I meticulously planned how we would get to Heathrow airport on time to meet up with Geoff and Joe and our soundguy/roadie/nursemaid – Dodgy Chris. Tony was in Germany at the time, recording with Rolf so he and Fabio were going to meet us at the 1st gig which was in Austria. So Danny and I went out for a beer, stayed over at his parents house and his dad drove us to the train station in Sheffield at some godforsaken time in the morning. The journey meant catching 3 different trains and we had all this gear with us – it was a nightmare getting it all on and off the trains. But the journey was going well – until the driver of the train casually announced that the train would have to stop as there was a body on the track! So the train pulled up and we could see police men and ambulance men and a body – covered with a sheet and boots sticking out the bottom. The corpse didn’t seem to have a head. So we had this long delay whilst they did the whole CSI bit. When we set off again we were worried. We’d lost a lot of time. At the next station a British Rail worker told us we had missed our connection but found us another train and eventually we arrived at Heathrow. We were ridiculously late but determined not to miss the flight obviously, so we threw all our gear on a trolley and raced this trolley down this slope into the airport like mad men and screeched to a halt sweating and swearing, security looking at us suspiciously, as we saw Geoff looking at the tickets and looking puzzled. He’s going, “lads, I don’t think they have our flights…” Cut a long story short, it was Geoff who sorted it all out. Tony had accidentally told us all to be at the airport a day too early. We had to find a taxi driver and asked him to recommend a hotel and take us to it and then pick us up the next day and take us back to the airport – because none of us live in that part of the country. In a way that was a cool experience. It was a nice place we stayed in. They had a big warm open fire at night and we had a good meal and sat getting slowly drunk in front of the fire. Geoff, who was always the story teller and comedian, sat there dipping chips in ketchup and sipping his Fanta (he never drank alcohol) and told us great Sabbath road stories and his never ending stream of stupid jokes that were only funny because Geoff told them. Everywhere Geoff went, all he ever wanted was to play music and make people laugh, eat chips covered with ketchup and drink orange Fanta. And he never shut up! First thing in a morning until he went to bed at night – he was relentless. I once asked Tony if maybe we could take his batteries out.
9) The band toured in 2006 also, playing several gigs, including a festival in Germany called Bang Your Head that had four songs filmed for a DVD. Rolf Munkes from Empire also made a guest appearance with the band playing “The Raven Ride” from the Empire album “Raven Ride”. Do you have any memories from that gig in particular?
Yes, that was a very memorable gig. Tony had made a couple of records with Rolf Munkes’ band Empire. Both brilliant albums. I loved those records so it was exciting to meet Rolf and we instantly got along very well. Rolf is a German with an English sense of humour! He’s nuts! We played the opening night club show at Bang Your Head with Raven and Beyond Fear. We met Ripper Owens who was amazing and turned out to be a big Tony Martin fan. He came over and asked Danny and I to introduce him to TM! Raven were amazing too and that’s where my fascination with 8 and 12 string bass guitars began. I’m just this little nob head from Sheffield who by some amazing twist of fortune, suddenly found himself chatting to John Gallagher about bass guitars backstage at a huge rock festival I was playing. Weird! The next day we hung out with and watched many of our heroes from the side of the stage. Foreigner, Y&T, Whitesnake etc… it was very cool.
That all sounds very showbiz and awesome – so I’ll tell you a contrasting story about Germany now. When we arrived in Balingen where Bang Your Head takes place, there had been a little miscalculation in the arrangements. There was nobody there to look after us. We couldn’t get into our hotel and we had no place to go. It was cold, nobody knew who we were, none of us spoke German, we were very hungry and we had very few euros between us. We put together what we did have and found we had enough between us to buy some suspicious looking German sausage at a market which we shared out. There were about 3 bites each and it wasn’t nice – but it had to last us for a very long time! You see, it’s not all limos and wild parties! We called that period the ham and cheese tour as a lot of the time in Europe that seemed to be all we ate.
10) In 2008 and 2009 Tony Martin played with Geoff Nicholls and Danny Needham in Brazil, with some Brazilian musicians playing guitar and bass. Why didn’t you and the original guitar players from the Tony Martin band came to Brazil in these years?
Simple answer – economics. Often, promoters just want singers. They can’t afford to fly full bands around the world so they just book the singer and find a good local band for them to work with. Of course, Geoff was a big name in his own right so they wanted him too and Tony insisted on using his own drummer – so a compromise was reached. Half the band stayed home, and sadly – that included me. It hurt, but you get used to it. No one ever said life was fair. The music business is often heart breaking.
11) Also in 2009 the band booked and extensively tour in USA, but that tour never happened. Why?
It was a very tough decision. The toughest I’ve ever made. At the last moment we decided not to go and we decided it as a band. Even though it was Tony’s band – he gave us all an equal say. We could see that we were going to be ripped off big time. I don’t want to comment any more than that, it’s Tony’s place to say more if he wishes. It wasn’t something we took lightly. For me, it was a real low point – that really broke my heart. Shattered my dreams, you know?
12) After that, you left the band. What you are doing nowadays in the music field?
I didn’t exactly leave. I would never have left that band. I would never ever have let Tony down. For the last gig Tony performed with his band, he chose to work with someone else on bass. Unfortunately, that was the last show the band did.
I play for The John Verity Band now. John was the lead singer in Argent in the early 70’s – he took over from Russ Ballard. I’m on the latest John Verity album, My Religion. If you don’t have it – buy it immediately. It’s a tremendous album and it will make your life better.
I stood in for Steve Dawson with Oliver/Dawson Saxon recently and am a member of Oliver’s Army – Graham Olivers side project. I also have my own band, Swear Box and I perform with The Paddy Maguire Band, Jenna Hooson Band, Iridium 77, I have my own guitar and bass teaching business, I go out doing acoustic gigs too – and I have a signature bass pedal now. It’s called The Bass Squeezer, made by a company called Xvive. It has been pretty successful and we are talking about doing more pedals together. I released a solo instrumental album called Return To Bass and an EP called Tunes From The Mothership. It’s been a while since I released anything of my own though but a lot of recording has been happening in Starbug Studios recently – there’ll be something out sooner or later.
Although I’ve worked very hard for all this, it was playing in Tony’s band that got me noticed and raised my profile. I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for Tony, so thank you Tony Martin for everything.
13) If there’s another invite to you to join the Tony Martin Band again in the near future, would you consider a comeback?
I would never say never but right now, I’m the busiest I’ve ever been. I have a lot happening musically and I’m in a very happy place. I really enjoy everything I’m doing but, well you never know. As long as we’re friends, that’s all that matters. I have this rule, I only work with people I like no matter what the fee is.
14) Jamie, thank you very much for this interview. Send a message to our readers.
Hey everyone! This is the bit where I’m supposed to try to promote what I’m doing now. All I’ll say is if you want to find me on YouTube, iTunes, Facebook, Twitter etc.. or check out my website at www.jamiemallender.co.uk that would be awesome! More importantly, keep on supporting live rock music! Please buy it, don’t steal it – or rock music will just die. Live your life to the full and be good to each other. Share the love and keep smiling.