After almost a decade of recording abstinence, touring the Irish Club scene ,Irelands’ German-Italian born rock musician and producer, ROB MANCINI is back on track with the smash hit, “Edge of a broken heart” and the powerful ballad “Every time you Cry” from his album “Rock’n’Roll Circus”. Some days ago MSFinland has a chance to interview Rob, talking about his past, present and the future…
Hi Rob, I’m Tarja, welcome to Metal Shock Finland! How’s your mood today?
Good, I woke up and smelled coffee…
Lets go back to the ’90s, please tell me about those years…
I was lucky getting into a decent band at a very early age. Back then only as a guitar player, we got support slots for big bands and I was able to get some decent gear and transport together to aim a little higher. I joined Hotwire in 94 and recorded my first album in 95 with the helping hand of Lessmann/Ziller from Bonfire. We parted ways before their next album and I didn’t really get into something proper afterwards, apart from a short stint in “Crush” with the former Hotwire singer and the now-Ravenryde drummer. It was the end of the 90s and playing in bands bored me to death. I was sick and tired of being another guitar player in another band having endless discussions about how things should sound or which musical direction a project should approach after all the Grunge crap flooded the rock scene. So I thought, fuck it, time for a break and change of climate. I moved to Ireland and began working as a studio and session musician for other bands and started to set up my own studio.
And what are your best memories?
Suppose, in that time everything was kick ass. We had a lot of fun during the gigs we did and a lot of fun recording in the studio. I had this bad habit tapping my foot during the guitar takes in a time measure that can’t even be described and obviously through me off timing until it came to the point that the engineer suggested to duck tape my foot to the leg of the chair. I still have that habit – I just got the timing under control…
So, You’ve been quite many years “in silence” from the international scenes, but tell me, what have you done in the meantime, and what was the impulse for this come back?
As I said, I took a major break after a turbulent end of the 90’s mainly to focus on the private side of live and to do a bit more production work and setting up my own studio. That time didn’t really bear many opportunities for the kind of music that I’m into and I was busy with session and production work for other bands. Last year, a good friend of mine recorded in my studio and asked me to co-produce his album, which was quite a challenge. I had “Edge of a broken heart” written at the same time, so everything from then on went into total overdrive and I spend almost every day and night in the studio.
What are your musical influences? And when you knew that the music would be your way of life?
I started playing guitar when I was 12 and had my first band when I was 14, torturing my parents with music from the Scorpions, Dokken and Motley Crue. The first album I bought was “Walking the razors edge” from Helix. Think it was around that stage that I went to my first concert and saw Magnum and Sinner in my hometown (It was actually Sinner that blew me away…(Yes, Mat!)). I knew then that the “real job” my parents wanted for me wasn’t quite an option. I dropped out of school cuz I couldn’t be bothered and I quit jobs cuz I couldn’t get time off for doing a gig. I was pretty much the best example for what not to do…
Back then, guitar players like Malmsteen, MacAlpine & Lynch really did it for me. Today, I really listen to almost everything from Rascal Flatts to Testament, but funny enough – doing this interview for MS Finland – I’m actually a huge fan of Poets of the Fall, I think they’re an absolutely amazing band. Great songwriting, great music – really inspirational…
I only started singing lead vocals a few years ago, maybe because I never thought they were good enough for what I wanted to do, but I thought I’ll give it a try. I’m a huge fan of vocalists like Joe Lynn Turner who can really drive a song with the raspy voice.
Rock: You tap your foot.
Metal: You bang your head.
How do you see the music scenes and business today? And if you could, how would you change it?
I don’t really wreck my head too much about it, I just do my own thing.
Oh, and if I could change anything I‘d probably kill the guy that invented the machine to shrink wrap CD’s. What an annoying piece of useless crap that is…
Your new album “Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus” was release only a couple of days ago via GMG Records. It’s a modern crossover between the roots of late ’80s and early 90’s melodic rock. What else would you like to add to this definition?
At the end of the day, I wanted to do an album that reflects me, my style, my taste, my history, my future. That this is being described as “late 80’s/early 90’s melodic rock” is just an attribute to me. I didn’t sit down and said:” Hey, let’s write an album that sounds like Bon Jovi or Nickelback”, I just wrote music that I like and I hoped that I can touch an audience with it. I’m an AOR guy and I will always be one, everything else would be fake. I don’t make music to fit into some new fashion or style.
MSFinland published recently the review of your album, classifying it as “AOR Anthology” which gives “Offshore Sensations” to the listener… but what is your message you want to transmit to your audience?
First of all, a big thanks to Mel & MS Finland for giving me such a great review. The concept of the album was a journey through life, songs that I can identify myself with and songs that people could identify themselves with. There isn’t a greater feeling for an artist when you bring out an album and people love your music.
When I started writing for the album, I wanted to finally do things exactly as I wanted them – without any outside input. I have my own studio, so I wasn’t under any pressure to record in a certain time frame, which can really mess things up.
I was lucky enough to be able to do the album on my own and although I have been criticized for doing so, I’m quite happy with the result. I didn’t want to hire any well known musicians, just to have a big name on the album – that’s not what it’s about…
I never ever sat down with an acoustic and tried to come up with something. It’s weird – when I have an idea for a song, it just appears in my head – fully produced ? I think I wrote “Edge of a broken heart” in less than an hour (where others like “Too late to die” seemed to take forever…) and it felt good. At that stage I wasn’t quite sure what I’m going to do 20 songs later, but the inspiration was there to take it to the next level. For most of the songs that followed, I had the music and the melody lines wrapped up before I even wrote a single word down. I wanted to create an emotional piece of music and wrap the words around it rather than the other way around.
There’s also a Kate Bush cover “Running up that hill”… why this choice?
Yeah, I really wanted to do a metal version of an 80’s pop song because I love this period of time and the music that was created back then. Although it was actually the Placebo (Kate Bush fans will hate me now…) version of the song that inspired me to give it a go at “Running up that hill”, I like the dark vibe of the song and I think Kate Bush is an amazing songwriter. It was a challenge…
You’re planning a tour for 2012, any more details you can give us already?
We have a few things in the pipeline for mid 2012. I can’t get too much into it at the minute, but we will be definitely showing our faces in Europe. I got good musicians together now for the live band and everybody is hot for getting out there. It’s just a matter of getting a few more things organized, but I think we can announce the dates early 2012.
Thank god you didn’t say I’m hiding my wrinkles behind the shades, lol. It depends how things will work out over the next couple of months. There will be a follow up album for sure, this time maybe with an outside producer involved in it that can handle that thick skull of mine. Some of the songs are already written but I want to take my time until after the tour to sort things out and be able to fully concentrate on the next writing sessions.
Where would you like to see you in 5 years from now?
I hope that things will work out and I can take everything to the next level, wherever and whenever that will be, but apart from that, I’m happy with what I have. Music will always be in my life, no matter what and I have a great family, friends and fans that support me and my music. That’s already more than I could ask for. Everything else is just a bonus…
So, the future is wide open… but now the word is yours. How would you like to close this interview? And what are your regards to our readers?
A big thanks goes out to MS Finland, all the readers, friends & listeners. It is you that make us who we are. I am more than grateful to be in a position where I’m able to create a piece of art that gained so much positive feedback. Stay tuned, there’s plenty more to come – you won’t be disappointed. See yous all on tour!
Interview by Tarja Virmakari
Rob Mancini – Edge of a Broken Heart