Interview with David Readman.
This one happened a few weeks back, as you will notice from some of the conversation, but it has taken me a while to get it transcribed and moved over to the site here and for that I apologize.
David Readman has long been one of my favorite singers. From the first time I heard him singing for Pink Cream 69 and over the years through various projects and with different bands, the man has always stood out to me as one of the best melodic metal vocalists out there. Even when I don’t care much for the music itself, which is rare with him, I am always blown away by that voice! He’s just that damn good.
Upon starting this site I sat down and made a list of artists that I would like the chance to interview. In the top ten on that list was this guy and after kindly agreeing to speak with me for an interview he not only took the interview but chatted for almost an hour and a half with me about many things proving himself to be quite the amiable fellow with a great sense of humor and helping to make this fanboys day.
After posting an interview with Larry King a little while ago I received some feedback about the back and forth and how it became a bit distracting so with this one I tried to weed out the conversation, mostly on my part, and take it down to the questions and answers only.
Speaking about his start with Pink Cream 69 and on through his career to his newest album with Room Experience and the future of PC69 after the lineup changes, below you will find the conversation that took place.
DR: Hello David.
MMR: Hey David. How are you doing?
DR: Not too bad. Yourself?
MMR: Man I can’t complain. I really appreciate you doing this.
DR: It’s great man. I wrote the time and I didn’t expect that we would call right today and I realized it was five o’clock and I thought okay, let’s do this. What’s it like over there anyway in these bad times?
MMR: Oh it’s uh, it’s changing rapidly. It’s not as bad as it is in other areas of the world and here in North Carolina we just went into a Stay At Home order so unless you’re an essential business then you have to stay at home, you can only go out to the grocery stores and things like that. How is it there in Holland?
DR: Well we…I wouldn’t say we have a lockdown. If I want to go outside of course I can go out into the nature and go on my bike and I realize a lot of people are getting all sporty and stuff that you may not normally see. But yeah, it’s very uncertain times for everybody.
MMR: Right, right. It’s a very strange time to be alive.
DR: You know it’s…yeah for me obviously with the music it’s just sort of stopped everything. I’m not recording at the moment luckily but as far as the music’s concerned it’s all sorta gone downhill unfortunately.
MMR: Yeah, it’s…I mean I’ve talked with several musicians and it’s just stopped and if you’re recording it’s just come to a stop. It’s gone. All tours, all shows, it’s all ground to a halt. It’s really affecting you musicians badly, especially in a genre like this that is smaller and more niche. You know, if you’re Bon Jovi or Aerosmith or one of those huge bands I don’t think it’s going to kill them to a miss a show, or a tour so it’s not nearly as bad for those guys who have all that money as it is for the smaller artists who actually need their shows and their tours just to make ends meet and put food on the table.
DR: Oh yeah, absolutely, and they probably have a big house somewhere where they can hang out and they probably don’t leave the house much anyway. But let’s hope it sorts itself out but I think it’s gonna be a while.
Well I guess we’d better get down to business (laughs).
MMR: Yes sir, absolutely, let’s see, I think let’s go back a ways, I want to say it was around 1994 when you auditioned for Pink Cream 69. You got the gig obviously but how did your life change after that ‘cause you…I know you’d played in some bands before PC69 but you were really no one that was known or big at that point.
DR: Yeah, even though I was trying my best and you know, I was playing in a few local bands and then I realized…there was a local magazine called Melody Maker in the UK. In the back of the magazine there were advertisements like “Rock band with record deal looking for singer” and I was a young guy you know, I was 21 or 22 and I was thinking “wow, this is pretty cool. I’m just gonna send a tape” ‘cause obviously at that time, we’re talking sorta 1991-’92…yeah? Yeah, ’91-’92. And you know sending tapes and seeing what went on. And basically at that time I was travelling around a bit and I went out to London and auditioned for Adrian Smith from Iron Maiden. He called me up one day and said he got my tape and you know, would I come down the London and audition for his band and I was like “oh my God” you know this was crazy man this was like, this worked. Obviously I had a good demo, I’d been lucky to have made a demo of my own songs with the band and the band had sorta finished and I could use this demo some, sending it around and next thing I was in London with Adrian Smith. I was doing something in Newcastle which is more towards the North and I was auditioning for a band with a guy called Thomas McRocklin and he was in a band called Bad4Good. It was a band that was made by Steve Vai. I don’t know if you know the videos by Steve but he did a song called “The Audience Is Listening”, there’s a video and the young guy in the video is an English guy and I was in his band around that time and we made some demos which turned into nothing but I was sorta getting my feelers out you know and I was doing things that were quite a bit crazy for the time and the fact that I lived in a small village somewhere in England and not necessarily London. And so I saw the advertisement for the German band with a record deal, sent a tape and of course at that time, a funny story actually, at the time I wasn’t home much, I was out doing stuff, jamming and whatever, hanging out with people you know at that age you know you’re just…just sorta going crazy and every time I would come home, I was living with my sister, and I came home my sister would say “look this guy’s calling for you from Germany” and I’m like shit, he never called when I was there. So it took maybe a week or whatever but at some point on this special day I was at home when he called up so I was able to answer the phone because obviously there were no mobile phones then, I mean that was the only way to contact you know so he called me up and he said look we like what you do, do you want to come over for an audition? And this was sort of ’93-‘94 something like that. I think it was a ‘94, sort of the beginning of ‘94 just before summer I went over to Germany for an audition and that was it the rest is history. And basically I had a choice, to commute, I could have gone over done my thing in Germany and gone back to the UK but I decided I wanted a big change and I moved to Germany and I was there in Germany for about 21 years.
MMR: Oh wow! Now were you familiar with PC69 before you auditioned for them?
DR: No, I had no idea you know it was sort of like “German band with a record deal” that was the thing, record deal, you know what I mean? It wasn’t just some guys jammin’ in the back somewhere, it was a band that had already gone somewhere, already achieved something you know and I was looking for something a little bit stronger, then I met the guys and heard the material and actually the songs they sent me for the audition, they sent me obviously a CD, and it was a CD of demos of the new record with Doogie White singing. He was in the band before me for about 20 minutes. He was in the band then he got the gig with Rainbow and then that’s it he said “look guys, I love to work with you guys but I just got this gig with Rainbow and that’s it” so they were looking for a new singer.
MMR: Okay, I didn’t know he had ever been in there, I thought you took over straight from Andi (Deris).
DR: Well yeah I did, I did but of course, you know, Doogie White had been there before me then he got a gig and you know…so I was listening to his demos with him singing and learning the stuff.
MMR: Well that obviously opened doors for you in the music industry and I think you’ve now become one of the most sought after vocalist in melodic rock and melodic metal, you’ve certainly remained one of my favorites over the years.
DR: Well that’s nice, thank you very much! But yeah, well I’ve been a lucky guy. My mother sings, two sisters definitely can sing though they’ve never done anything recorded but you know it was always something that…we were always singing as a family we always enjoyed it. My mother forced me to go to church every Sunday and sing in the choir which I didn’t enjoy but of course now I’m glad you know but at the time I was like “noo”. But I was playing guitar for a long time and I was singing because I could sing but it was nothing, at that time, really amazing. It was good enough you know and I was young and I sang in a few bands, it wasn’t really what I wanted to do but I realized more and more at the time that if I were to put the guitar down and spend more time on the vocals then I would just have more chance you know, more success and I just ended up floating into it really, it’s not like it was planned for me to sing. It was kind of like, you know I was playing guitar that’s what I really wanted to do, but I realized real quick there’s a lot of people better than me and I was just not able to catch up (laughs). I still wish I would have spent more time and could play more live and stuff like that but at the end of the day I was always a singer and that’s what helped me to get where I am today in the music business and hopefully still respected and still making records.
MMR: Well we are all certainly glad that you did pursue singing and you’re most definitely still respected man so keep making those records!
So you mentioned playing guitar, is that something that you still do and do you ever play on any of the records or live in shows at all?
DR: No no. I obviously use a guitar for writing songs and having the instrument is always good to have because if you’re working together with someone, you know having that musical understanding and being able to say wait this needs to do this because it’s better for the vocals and such. I think a lot of singers, especially these days on Facebook, a lot of people are doing these concerts at home and stuff and you see a lot of people who are playing the guitar, mainly singers, and you’re like oh I didn’t realize this guy played quite that good acoustic guitar and it is quite often the case that most singers do play the guitar because this just helps and it helped them in the beginning, you know something to sing to. But not live? No I don’t play live.
MMR: Okay. Well I think by now everybody knows the changes that have happened with PC69 with Dennis (Ward) leaving and all. Now you’ve got, let me see if I can say this correctly, Roman Beselt and Marco Wriedt and I read that they had both played with the band before so I guess they fit in pretty easily with you guys?
DR: Yeah it was sort of a no brainer but we did look around. I had people I was interested in and so we did look around. Marco had played with us when we supported Helloween which was a funny thing obviously with Andi Deris singing. We supported them probably 8 or 9 years ago and Marco stood in because Uwe (Reitenauer) at the time couldn’t do it and he came in and did like 4 or 5 shows and he was great you know, we didn’t even practice, didn’t even rehearse, he knew the stuff and we just did sound check a little bit. An incredible musician, incredible guitar player and for us it was so clear. I mean we looked around for a bit but at the end of the day we knew what to do. And Roman is actually a really old friend of mine, we’ve been friends for years and he’s helped me out and I’ve helped him out and we’ve done stuff. He’s been obviously working with his band singing, he got singing lessons with me for many years and he was singing for different bands and stuff. Also he was roading for different bands and stuff, also for Pink Cream 69, something that you do quite often to sort of get it in the business a little bit you know. He didn’t want to be a roadie for the rest of his life but it was a good way to get in there and he worked with different bands like Bonfire and different bands who were maybe a support for his band or whatever and he was roading for us and we said look we need somebody for our UK shows and one in Spain and he jumped in and did a great job and admittedly we did look around again and I think it’s important to have a look around and see what’s possible and see who’s into it but at the end of the day it was Roman, he was the guy for the job. We met as a band, we met just before this…it was just on the cusp you could say of breaking out I went down into Germany and we met we rehearsed and took pictures and stuff but it was all kind of hitting at that point we all knew there was something going on with this Corona thing and even when I was there I was thinking this is kind of weird and shit but it wasn’t like it is now.
MMR: Right yeah, shit changed very quickly.
Well I know that I read that the band has been working on some new material. With the line-up changes that have happened and Dennis leaving and all, will that affect the sound any of the band? Though I imagine a lot, I don’t exactly know how involved with the writing that Dennis was…
DR: Dennis was big. I mean Dennis is a very talented bass player, producer and singer. Overseas he sings on records these days. He was singing with Gus (G) from Ozzy Osbourne and you know he’s just an amazing and talented guy. After many years, I mean he was probably in the band about 30 years, he decided to move on and at the end of the day we had to get a bass player but we could never replace Dennis, obviously that is absolutely not possible. He would produce for the band, he did probably the last 5 or 6 records for the band and that is something that you just can’t replace. I think live I wouldn’t say necessarily it’s such a big deal quite honestly but I think the future record…I mean Marco writes a lot and I wrote quite often and Alfred Koffler, he wrote a lot of stuff, also Dennis, so yes it’s gonna change probably the records, probably the sound a little bit. It’s not gonna be crazy, it’s still going to be Pink Cream 69, but I think the latest record that we did was a bit heavier, a bit more direct. Great sound and everything, Dennis did a great job, but I think possibly the next record may be a bit more melodic.
MMR: Alright alright, yeah ‘Headstrong’ was heavier but it was…is great. How far along were you on the writing process? I’m guessing most of that has kind of ground to a halt right now.
DR: Yeah, we got a lot of songs. Everybody’s got ideas and stuff like that. But at the moment, though this is actually a good time to do with things like this. Everybody’s at home, everyone has a studio to record in. I record my part of vocals at my studio at home. But at the moment yeah, there’s not much going down. It’s sorta ground to a bit of a halt. Obviously we’re in contact and the materials there and the next level would probably be to meet up and jam for a week, maybe make some quick demos or whatever and then start recording, but until things start to go in a better direction we’re on hold. I think a lot of people are sort of on hold right now. I mean I’m recording some demos at the moment for somebody and recording a record for somebody at the moment so I’m on and off sort of busy you know trying to make it through this time when my head’s feeling kind of open but you know with these times it’s a bit mind boggling and all but I have managed to get a few tracks down.
MMR: Now with so many people writing in the band how does that work? Do you each write and bring it to the table and everybody sort of tweaks it or do you write and somebody else does and so on and you get together and just kind of mesh stuff up together or how does that work exactly?
DR: Yeah, all that all that really. I mean everybody would bring like 10 songs so we will have like 30-35 songs and everybody will go away and listen and make a list and say this is an A song, this is a B song, D, whatever, so we pick all the A songs and we’ve already got 6 or 7 songs and then you go on to the B songs and you say look these are not A but with this change and a bit of a tweak it makes it better you know. Then I’d go into a studio in Germany and meet with Dennis and then we’d sort of change this and change that, re-demo you know and then we’d jam, we’d jam it out and practice and finish all the songs basically. I mean I think as far as Alfred’s songs, he wouldn’t be able to sing on it, Dennis would be able to sing on his and I’d sing on mine so me or Dennis would meet with Alfred and he’d already have ideas pretty much for the melodies or if he didn’t then I’d do something. So it’s sort of like a puzzle you know. It’s not always easy because I work with people sometimes…you make a record when they’ve done the whole thing, the thing’s finished, it just needs some help here and there with the lyrics. Obviously talking about Room Experience, it’s pretty much finished, everything’s there and maybe I have to sort of change a few places that’s a little bit Italian to English but generally a very talented guy ecspecially writing lyrics in English. And you meet some people and it’s finished and I sorta do it again in a better way and in your way, put your own personality with it. But some things need more work you know.
MMR: Okay, so you just take the songs and kind of tweak them for yourself and your voice and are not just singing them straight up the way they were necessarily written.
DR: Right right, of course. I mean obviously the Room Experience stuff is always very far and you’ve got Dave (Barbieri). Dave’s a great singer and he does quite a lot of the demos and so the only thing about him is that he sings very high, he’s got a very high range so quite often some of the songs that he’s written for himself, ‘cause he’s a great writer as well, are always demoed in his range and where he feels good with his voice and it0 might not be as comfortable for myself and that’s the only thing that really sorta gets in the way sometimes but generally it works great.
MMR: Alright, yeah, Dave is great. Well you have done, and do, a lot of projects like that where other people have written the songs, have you ever, or do you ever, have a problem really connecting with a song that someone else has written? It seems like that would be in issue if you can’t connect with it musically or lyrically.
DR: It’s true it’s true. Yeah that does happen from time to time. I mean, you know I also do…there’s people out there that never really cover, they never do any cover stuff live or whatever and that’s great if that’s possible, I do a lot of different styles and if I’m out there and I’m out there with a blues band or sort of an event sort of night you know so I’m doing different songs and I’ve always felt that generally songs I’m doing…I’m doing songs that I like, that I feel fit my voice, but sometimes somebody will suggest a song or a certain style or certain thing that we’re going to do that evening so I have to learn other songs and I realize real quick that this all is not working for me but you realize it is not necessarily working and songs do that, but then you get songs that you know are not really working but you can sort of make it through the whole song and make it work, so that’s what I try to do if I’m recording the songs for someone else’s album or record and I have to really get into it and then try and decide how I’m really going to make it my own, how am I going to make it my song and then there’s maybe a few lyrics in there I just wouldn’t necessarily say and I’m going to change it and up until now it’s worked really well.
MMR: Well you mentioned Room Experience and now finally, 5 years later, we’re getting the sophomore release, something I am very excited about. How did you get hooked up with Gianluca (Firmo)?
DR: Yeah, it took a long time, it’s a bit surprising yeah, but anyways we’re all a bit older now (Laughs).
MMR: (Laughs) Yeah, I guess we all are. But yeah he posted that first video and I believe he said it was recorded in 2017.
DR: Yeah yeah, it wasn’t recent you know, that’s not possible these days in Italy. But yeah, it’s like I was working with Voodoo Circle then I got to know Alessandro Del Vecchio, who everybody knows I guess. He’s doing a lot of stuff also, big talent. He was playing keyboards, like Hammond type stuff on the record, he came in kind of like the help. We had a keyboard player we just need someone else and he came in I realized he was a great guy, we sounded great together live, it was so fantastic and he was producing, kind of like Dennis really, he was producing a lot of stuff for Frontiers and he said to me “look, you know I got this project going on with a friend of mine. It’s his very first record and he would love it if you would sing on it” I said “look cool, I need to listen to the stuff”. I do not get, not like every day an offer from some band but it happened quite a bit that someone’s gonna write to me and say look you know do you want to be involved? Which is great, it’s a great thing and I’m always happy to have people ask me that. It’s always nice to get a new project and stay busy and to get stuff out there. I’m always very careful because in the past I have made maybe 1 or 2 things I’m not particularly happy about. It’s not massive but I just don’t really want to put something out there is just horrible, it just doesn’t work for me so I said send me some stuff and he sent me some stuff and I was like wow these are great songs you know considering this guy’s probably not made a record before and it’s some guy in Italy somewhere who likes to write melodic rock or whatever and it sounded great. It was rough demos, it was possibly him singing and it was possible that Dave was singing on a few tracks, but I was like this is great stuff and for me there was no question, I wanted to be a part of this. So we talked for the first couple times and we were already getting busy, I was recording the stuff and we’d not…let me see, I have to think about the first time we actually ever met. Yeah we talked and I think the first time we ever met was when we just so happened that we were on a holiday in Italy and he lived nearby and he came out and we met for the first time, as mad as it is that’s just kind of how it is these days you know?
MMR: Yes, that’s right. Meeting face-to-face isn’t even a necessity now, it is crazy how far things have come.
So is that kind of how you choose the projects that you’re going to be a part of? Just kinda have them send you the demos of it so you can say yes this is a possibility or, you know, no absolutely not and such?
DR: Yeah yeah absolutely. At the end of the day I have a listen and I have to decide, does it fit my voice? Is it something that I want to do, a genre that I feel is okay for me? And the next question is can I recorded at home. I don’t necessarily…I mean I don’t mind going to the studio and working with a producer it’s not a big deal. I’ve not exactly had the best experience of my life working with different people. I’ve worked a lot with Dennis, he always gets the best out of me. I think sometimes you work with some producer where it’s kind of like…it’s not good. With singing it’s a fine line between feeling comfortable in doing a good job and sounding good and feeling good in the environment sometimes you’re working with someone and you realize this guy’s got no idea and he is just kind of pressing buttons and stuff and then I’d rather do it myself because I felt I could do it better and faster instead of wasting endless time which is maybe going to affect the way you sing and the way you’re going to record you know. So then I do it at home, I’ve got the equipment these days so it’s very possible. And another very important thing is it’s going to take time and so there is going to have to be some kind of monetary help. It is not the most important thing, it’s got to be fun, it’s gotta be cool people but you also have to be able to eat and you gotta feel that the work you’ve done is going to be acknowledged. And again, what many people don’t realize these days is if you make a record and you’ve got a certain singer on that record it might help you get a better record deal with a record company, so there’s definitely more money involved and it’s probably gonna help sell records so at the end of the day if the singer does it for free, or barely no money you know, who’s gonna win in the end? The guy who makes the record or writes a song or the record company because a lot of people don’t think that far along and of course a lot of times these days people try to do stuff for free. But you know, if a friend comes along…I’ve been working on some other stuff and said “look you play guitars on a few tracks and I’ll do some vocals” and that’s fine again, then that’s okay to me again to a point because we’re both gaining, we’re both happy so it’s cool.
MMR: Right, absolutely, it’s your job, your bread and butter and you have to make money.
Well the recording process with, I guess like Room Experience, I guess Gianluca sends you files? He shares the files and you record your vocals there at the house and just send them back to him?
DR: Yeah that’s the easiest way of putting it I guess. I mean he’s got some good demos but you’ve got to use a little fantasy sometimes and look through what’s recorded to try and see what he really wants because obviously if you have someone singing that can’t do it the way I would then he’s going to have a little trouble getting the message across, then you need a little time to listen and learn it and find which parts you don’t like and what you may change on a few things and then I start recording and I probably basically start by doing what he did with it but in my own way and then just sort of change some stuff and get it down to the meat of the song. But like I said before, this stuff is always very far when it comes, it’s really far.
MMR: Well we have heard the first single, finally, is that kind of what we can expect? Is it a good indicator of what the entire record will be like?
DR: I think so, yeah. It’s very melodic and is not really that far away from the first record. A bit more up tempo, slightly heavier you could say because it’s a real band now. Some great musicians so the first record was kind of like a put together type of thing that turned out really good and was very well accepted and this now is more of a band effort and I think if we ever had the chance to play live it wouldn’t be a big deal to get together. We met up obviously a few years ago and we did the video and it was a great experience, great guys, all from the area so who knows what might happen in the future.
MMR: Well Room Experience of course is very much melodic rock, kind of AOR in genre but a lot of what you sing is more hard rock and metal and even progressive. Is there a particular style that you enjoy doing more than the others?
DR: Well it’s funny, like in my life, no matter what I do, in my life I try to…you know whether it be fixing stuff, I try to fix stuff, I’m always trying to be busy, I’m always trying to be good at what I do and maybe that comes through a little bit in the music. I try…sometimes I try kind of everything and its good and bad. On the good side, if you’re flexible and it’s not necessarily boring and you try different things and it’s good but a lot of the time people want you to stay in one lane and sometimes that’s better but hey, it’s too late now! But yeah, I did the Adagio thing a long time ago and that was very much progressive and that helped me a lot, that was…as a singer it helped me in a big way. I didn’t realize it at the time, I was still doing the Pink Cream stuff which was still really heavy but melodic and you know, I mean I like heavy stuff. I could listen to a bit of Slipknot. I like a bit of Alter Bridge, like it’s modern and kind of heavy. I’m not the kind of guy who necessarily sits at home listening to proper, melodic, nice stuff, that’s just not necessarily me you know. I’m just like an artist who…you get a good song and I put my voice to it and I do as good as I can but I’m open minded. I mean I like detuned guitars, I like heavy stuff so yeah, I try to put my hand in most things which is good and bad but that’s how it goes. Sometimes I am out and it’s more bluesy, almost Led Zeppelin bluesy, and I also like that as well. I’m completely open minded when it comes to that but when it’s like this really Judas Priest metal, that’s not my world.
MMR: Of course and that is good to be opened minded and to be open to different things like that, like you said. It helps keep your options open and I would imagine gives you more opportunity to work.
Well let’s see, moving along here…well okay, one thing that almost always comes up in a conversation about you is the solo album, is there a possibility of us getting another solo album from you in the future?
DR: (Chuckles) Well I could say yes and I could say no but, you know I have stuff of course, but it’s difficult, it’s difficult times as you know. When I made that record it was at a time when it was possible to financially make a good record and go into the studio and do it whereas these days things have changed in a big way, more than ever as you know. Trouble is I’m still busy doing stuff for other people who want me to sing on their records and that takes most of my time you know. I’m not sure that I will ever make another record.
MMR: Okay, well that sucks! (laughs) But as long as you keep on singing on other people’s records then we can deal with that I guess.
DR: Well this is it, it’s kind of like “ahh!!” You know? It’s difficult, some people are solo artists, that’s what they do, that’s what they are and that’s what they pursue, but I have just never really been a solo artist and that’s it.
MMR: Alright. Well you’ve been doing this for a long time and you’ve made many many records over the years, do you have any favorites among all the ones that you’ve been a part of?
DR: That’s not an easy question, it’s just not easy. I know I’ve got favorite Pink Cream records like, obviously ‘Electrified’ is a great record and ‘Thunderdome’. And then like Voodoo Circle I’d say the third record, ‘More Than One Way Home’ I believe it was called. Difficult. It’s also strange listening to yourself. In a way you can be your own fan and of course there is nothing wrong with that. You can be your own fan but I wouldn’t say I’m the kind of guy who’s listening to his own stuff over and over again. It’s kind of like, it doesn’t happen often and the best time is like when you go to a bar somewhere, a rock bar and the record comes on that you made and then slowly realized “oh shit, that’s me!” and it can happen sometimes and you’ll be somewhere and they realize you’re in there or it is just coincidence that this record comes on and you listen to it a different way ‘cause you’re not at home and your not skipping tracks or whatever, you’re in a bar and you can’t start skipping tracks and they spin the whole record and you listen to it and it’s like…well it’s so different and that happens maybe like two times a year or something. Not at the moment of course. But I think I can appreciate most of the stuff I’ve done absolutely. I mean it’s all quality stuff that I’ve done otherwise I wouldn’t have done it.
MMR: Right, absolutely. And I do like the majority of it as well.
So what’s the music scene like there, you know Germany, Holland, if you can go into bars there and hear music that you’ve done ‘cause I know here in the US you’re not going to hear anything like this out and about.
DR: Well a few weeks ago Germany was pretty cool but obviously now all this, but yeah Germany is really good with music, especially rock music. You might go into certain places like a rock are and there’s a certain kind of music playing and you might hear something you’ve done. That can happen here in Holland as well but I moved here about five years ago but not for the music. There’ not much going on here for me in Holland, as crazy as it seems I have to go across the border which is about an hour away and go into Germany and that’s where I’m on stage, in Germany. Obviously last year I was with Tank and I joined Tank about two years ago. And with Tank I was also…you know it was really good, we were in Finland last year, Australia, Japan. We…you know the closest I got to the US was from Miami, we were on the Monsters Of Rock cruise with PC69 so that’s about as close as I got. It’s funny because when you go on that boat, to me, obviously you’re not in America anymore and you leave America and you’re off to the islands which is all very nice, but to me I’m still America you know? And people are talking like this (mimics American accent) and for me it’s like I’m in America and most of the people are American on these boats. Well there are a lot of foreigners, but all the people from America say to you “when are you going to come to the US?” and it’s like well, this is about as close as I’m gonna get for a while generally. But I understand though and I always enjoy coming over. I played ProgPower , we played in Atlanta a couple of times and we actually recorded the first record with Pink Cream 69 in California which was an amazing time, about 6 or 7 weeks. Next year we will be over again, all being well of course, in February to be on the Monsters Of Rock cruise again to play with Pink Cream 69. We start in Miami and go to the islands, Jamaica and stuff.
MMR: I’ve always wanted to go on that cruise but have never had the chance to. But yeah, hopefully it will all be cleared up by then and it will still happen.
DR: Yeah, I hope so but it is very unclear with something like this, you know.
MMR: Yeah, sure is.
Well who are your biggest influences as a musician and a vocalist?
DR: Well in the beginning it was The Beatles, I am a big Beatles fan. Then I moved on to Jimi Hendrix and then from there I discovered Whitesnake. I mean yeah, Coverdale, Plant, Rodgers, all of these people. To me, when I was teaching courses, I always taught my students to listen to the good people, listen to the top musician of quality and then take what you need for yourself and use it in your own voice.
MMR: Well you still have an incredible range now, what do you do to keep your voice in shape?
DR: Just being busy you know, playing a lot of live stuff. Like I said, I’m always out with different people all the time, not just Pink Cream. That is my real band you could say, with real music you make yourself, but quite often I’m out with other people and then I’ve got a box at home and I’ll go in there and do a little concert and then I teach a little in Holland and just different things to keep the voice going, keep it oiled and stuff like that. But I’ve just been very lucky, that’s all I can tell you man. I’ve been very lucky that I can still continue to do it, there’s a lot of people out there that have to work really hard and they’re doing all these special things and techniques and strange shit or whatever and that’s cool if it’s good for them but for me personally I just don’t. I do what I do and it’s it.
MMR: I think a lot of it has to do with genetics and then of course lifestyle, whether you smoke or drink and stuff like that obviously affects your vocals but there’s just some people like yourself, Danny Vaughn, you know folks like that and you’re just completely blessed.
DR: Yeah, Danny’s a great guy, great singer. It’s always nice to see Danny. And I don’t drink, I don’t smoke which helps and I didn’t do that necessarily for the voice. When I was drinking I always thought I sang a lot better (laughs). When you’ve had a few drinks man you can do anything! I thought I was amazing then! But I think it’s partly attitude you know, what you’ve been through in your life and it’s an ability, in my opinion it’s the ability…well first you got to have the voice, you’ve got to be able to sing of course, old or not, but it’s the ability to be able to move people, the ability to create an emotion, create sadness or happiness in the voice. That’s because us, the human race, we’re still able to understand these basic emotions, understand that from the sound of someone’s voice. If someone is singing a ballad and its sad then the voice has to sound sad you know and not everybody can do that. I’ve found that in my life honestly that is something that I can do, that I can create an emotion or be bluesy or lift the voice but in real life, in normal life, that’s got nothing to do with singing. It’s possible that some things I’m not good at but I can do it with my voice so it’s where the talent lies you know? I’ve just been a lucky guy in that respect but then again what’s lucky? Some guys are really good with numbers you know and they end up working in a bank and end up being a financial adviser and they’ve got a big house and a yacht and a great life, so what’s lucky? I mean being a musician is great and I love it, I’ve had an amazing time and have traveled and it has been a fantastic experience but I don’t have a big house and, especially in these times right now, it’s touch and go.
MMR: Especially as a musician in melodic rock because this is not a big genre anyways and it’s not like artists in this genre, generally, are living the high life and making a killing, it’s like all the rest of us, just trying to make ends meet.
MMR: Yeah and generally, if everything is going okay, then I’m doing fine, I’m doing okay mostly. I’m out there doing my thing and it’s great, it’s a good life and I’m here and then off to America, you know, we were in Australia last year aand Japan, it’s fantastic. But in this situation, if you have a top job somewhere that you can basically work from home anyways if you have the telephone and computer maybe just doing the odd Skype or something every now and then with the big boss then it’s not going to be that different necessarily whereas for me, I am recording and I’m doing other stuff trying to stay busy but as far as normal work, yeah, it’s just stopped. And if you have a backup, like if you’ve had a few hits and have them as backup then that’s helpful.
MMR: Right right, of course, but in this day and age you really don’t make your money from the album sells do you? It’s more of going out and doing shows where the real income comes from isn’t it?
DR: Yeah I’ll be honest with you, there was a time when you could still get some good money from a record company but not anymore. Record companies just aren’t there anymore, the ones that are still knocking around somehow they found a way to survive, it’s amazing.
MMR: There are still a few thankfully. There’s labels like Frontiers out there still that can help this music.
DR: Absolutely. They found a way, they managed to have a business model that still works whereas a lot of other companies are just gone. It’s just not possible now.
MMR: Yeah exactly, there’s just no money there anymore, no backing available really.
Well that to it, I’ve got just a couple more here. You’ve been singing for a long time, what’s been the biggest change in the industry since you started to now?
DR: I think you know the answer to that. The biggest change is of course the Internet. I mean, it’s a platform to get discovered on of course but…
MMR: It’s both a great thing and a bad one. On one hand look how many people have been discovered through it, I mean look at Arnel (Pineda) from Journey, they discovered him on YouTube and now he is singing for Journey. On the other hand you have all the piracy issues and all of that.
DR: Yeah, yeah but I think that’s less now. I thank YouTube have taken more care with that. Sometimes I’ll upload a video with music, of ours of course, and it will be taken down. You can write to them and take care of it but it has gotten stricter. Also Spotify and all those streaming places, but you don’t make any money out of it but it’s probably a bit better than it would be on YouTube or something like that. But yeah, I think that’s the big one, you know. The record company that was there was sort of like a bank that would lend you money to make a great product and you sort of would pay them back and that’s gone, the motion, the machine is gone. I think the bigger artists…it’s just different for them of course because they still have the record companies behind them and such but if it’s in your blood, you know what I mean, it’s in your blood and so you still keep going even if there’s these things, even if these things come along and they try and stop you from this or that or whatever. You still just keep going.
MMR: Yes, like you can’t not do it. Well obviously you’ve pretty much worked with like a whole who’s who of musicians over the years but is there anybody that you haven’t worked with that you would love the chance to work with or do a project with her song or something?
DR: Absolutely. I actually did a…well it was in Germany with Doug Aldrich and he was there with basically the Whitesnake band. It was the bass player and the drummer of the, then, Whitesnake band and we did like four or five Whitesnake songs, great stuff and we talked a little bit. And then I met Doug again in Italy and I met him again in Austria and we talked a little bit but we never did anything and I would love the chance to do something with him honestly. Great guitar player, great guy. But who knows, it would be amazing to be able to do something.
MMR: Yes, he is for sure a great guitar player!
Alright well one less question before we go, desert island album. What would it be?
DR: I’m an old school kind of guy so I’d say the first Led Zepplin record. First or second.
MMR: Well you can’t go wrong with either one (laughs). Well David I appreciate your time so very much!
DR: Thank you, it’s great that we’ve been able to have a little chat. I’ve done a lot of interviews and I don’t mind doing them but it’s nice to have a bit of a chat and see what’s going on on your side, I like that. It’s been really great man.
MMR: Oh thanks man, you’ve been fantastic!
DR: Thanks. Anyway, great stuff. Stay safe, that’s the important thing. Say hello to the guys when you talk to them and will speak again, take care Dave.