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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Exclusive Interview with ROBIN BECK

After listening to her new fabulous album "Underneath" I just had to ask her some questions: the legendary Robin Beck! She is an icon in the melodic rock scene with a fantastic voice, but most of all she seems to be a very, very kind, helpful and open-minded person. Check out what she had to say about her new album, her relationship to husband James Christian and her thoughts about the early success with the hit single "First Time" in a very personal interview.

Hello Robin, I'm really proud to talk to you, how are you doing?
Robin: Hi Thomas, things are good. Very busy these days touring and recording more with House Of Lords.

That's fine. I'd like to do this interview on a more personal level and I hope you feel comfortable with that, but first of all let us talk about your new album „Underneath“. It will hit the stores in August. Are you really excited or is such an album release just a „normal“ thing for you?

Robin: I’m very excited. This album has so much spunk and promise. Can’t wait for it to get out there to the fans old and new.

I know you read my review already, but I have to say it again: congratulations to this amazing record. I really enjoy it and I was very surprised about certain things, for example the freshness. What did you do to reinvent yourself and your sound?

Robin: Well I’ve always been a risk taker. When the songs got to me I was blinded to any past that I had emabrassed before and just focused on the now. It was an easy transition as it is still rock and melodic... only the twist is more modern and fresh.

There were lots of songwriters involved this time. Why did you invite so many writers?

Robin: It was good timing. We had been going through some serious family problems with health and dealing with the loss of my husbands mother, very sad couple of years... we were obligated to tours and other projects. We just needed to take a step back and breath.... and when we did our prayers were answered... the Crush Boys Charlie Mason and Daniel Volpe and their entire crew, not to mention, Fiona, Glen Burtnik and my boys just pulled it all together. It was hard to resist since it was just amazing and timely music and we needed to turn our brains off to recharge. It worked out great... I will work with them again and agian.

How much are you involved in the songwriting process?

Robin: Normally I am writing the lyrics and the melodies for our collaborations.

What is the album title all about? „Underneath“ seems to be very personal. Did you like to show up a side of you, nobody knows?

Robin: When I first heard the song "Underneath", I knew instantly that the topic would be personal for me. I am kind of a tough cookie but a total softy on the inside. I think this topic is universal. We all feel misunderstood a tone time or another. I’m not different for anyone else. I have my good sides and my bad. Hopefully everyone can see through me and into the sweet and loving person that I really am Underneath.

Let's talk about some songs on the album. I'll pick some tracks and you've hopefully some stories to tell about them. So what about: „Wrecking Ball“?

Robin: Wrecking Ball is about being there to love someone even if they are unlovable I think in the story she gives room to grow and let him push her away... but she stands strong and he’s got her no matter what. She feels that he is lucky that she’s that way or he may have no one. This is a declaration of strong commitiment. (laughs)

… „Catfight“

Robin: Eveyone has had a moment like this in their life. Someone is threatening to you - perhaps another man or a woman seems to be getting the attention of your boy/girlfirend. But you don’t expect it to be your best friend! So it’s really an all hell breaking lose song of anger and disappointment. Cat Fight! Step Off!!!

… „Burning Me Down“

Robin: A very truthful love song about 2 people who simply can not live without each other even in hard times... they still look to each other for comfort. They are the definition of unconditional love in Burning Me Down.

… „Sprain“

Robin: Sprain is an interesting way of saying you may have hurt me but you won’t kill me if you leave. But it’s also to me a song that shows how vulnerable a woman can be. She lets him have it in the chorus by telling him you’re nothing but a bump in road of love and you won’t ruin my day... but still she is hurt... you can read it that way as well.

So those were my favorites. Now I've to ask you about „I Swear The Night“. You know, I hear lots of similarities between this song and Whitesnakes classic „Here I Go Again“, so what do you think about that? Do you also hear this?

Robin: This song was written by Barry Jay. When I first heard it I didn’t hear that... as the version that was sent to me was anything but Rock. But now I do hear it a little bit in the beginning of the song only. It’s good thing in my opinion as it goes else where after, but also becuase I love Whitesnake and the asssociation in song type.

Are there any plans for a world tour?

Robin: I’ve been doing more touring these days than in the past 15 years. I’m planning a double Bill with House Of Lords. This is in the making. I am also touring with Legends, voices of Rock... and then of course when my album takes off, and I hope it will there will be many more opportunities to do much more. Fingers are crossed ... I love performing live and seeing the fans up close.

Now let's get a bit more personal. I think most people know that James Christian is your husband, so are you inspired by each other when it comes to songwriting?

Robin: Absolutely! We are very inspired by each other. We have a very musical house hold. Always something going on. Music is everywhere and on every floor coming out of every door... We love working together and that makes it even more creative. James is the best producer I’ve ever worked with and I have worked with some of the best in the world. James just does it for me. His talent also rubs off on me so I am even more inspired to be creative.

Like you said: he produced your new record … and damn he lives with his biggest competitor under one roof … lol. His solo album comes out nearly at the same time like your new effort. Was that planned?

Robin: We help and support each other. The plan is to keep doing that.

I just can tell you, you've beaten your husband, - hopefully he can live with that, haha. I'm just kidding. You've done some duets together, but have you ever thought about doing an album just consisting of duets? Such a „Beck/Christian“ thing? I wonder why Frontiers Records hasn't got that idea already, because they are known for such studio projects.

Robin: That’s funny in deed... me beat James? I would love to take some of the credit but I will hand this to James here. He is he producer and he knows how to get it out of me. I have the talent but because he really understands how far I can go... there is no limit to how good or better I can be. But perhaps I should turn the tables and produce him (laughs) ... no! Just kidding. So far as duets... we do think of doing it all the time. As soon as we can make some room from our busy lifes with our solo projects we just might do that. OK now with Frontiers... listen babe... I have my own label... can you even imagine if I handed in an album like UNDERNEATH to them... this is not what they do.... they are cookie cutter and never stray from their formula. I would imagine that I would have to go back to doing everything in the way that they see it.... I don’t get to be creative... and that’s not something I want to give away to anyone. Don’t get me wrong. Frontiers Rocks! I just don’t think they think of these things because they are not in the business of reaching everyone like I want to be. Respect! I do think Frontiers is a great label and hope they will love my album as listeners.

I read your daughter Liv was doing background vocals on that album? What she thinks about musicbusiness? Would she like to be part of it? I can imagine with those parents she could have an amazing voice!

Robin: She’s just turning 16. She sings her butt off. Liv is a natural. For the moment her heart is way into the Broadway Musical Theatre. She has time to make up her mind, but man if ever there was a triple treat, she’s the one.

Let's get back to where everything started: your breakthrough with the single „First Time“. What does this song still mean to you? Can't you hear it anymore or will it always be something special to you?

Robin: This is the song that kick started my career. So I love it. It did get me tired once or twice when I was too young to appreciate it... but now I just love it all over again. It is ticket to ride. I will always be grateful since it gave me the opportunity to continue singing and writing the music I love.

I know, sadly you couldn't repeat this big success with your following works, so what happend to you when the period of this big commercial success was over? I mean, I talked to former Europe guitarist Kee Marcello some months ago and he told me, that it was very hard for him to find back into normal life after the time with Europe was over and I think you might have had similar problems.

Robin: It wasn’t like that for me. I’m a family person... when I got my first success I just embraced it. I never lost sight of who or where I came from... so I never felt like it was my only success. I continued to make albums and do other projects... always singing... and as long as I am singing I’m happy. I really had nothing pulling me down... if anything it lifted me up and made me appreciate it more and work even harder.

This is a good attitude. By the way: everbody knows the fairytales about the grunge-wave and that lots of things changed in muscic industry in the early 90's, melodic rock was dead and so on ... but that often sounds very superficial to me. Is it really that „easy“ or are there other circumstances, which did not allow it to „survive“ with this kind of music you were playing in this period of time?

Robin: Humm. Well, my opinion is that music will always be evolving. There are no generations that don’t change their music to what they get. It’s normal stuff... you just might want to be more open and try to listen to the younger musicians so you don’t lose your edge. I know it pissed a lot of pop and Rock artists off, but it is what it is.

I've to say I love melodic rock and metal and all sub-genres of it and of course all the old stuff from the 80's and yes, I'm 25 years old right now. When you had your biggest success I was still lying in the bed with diapers. So what do you think is so special about this genre that so many young and old bands play this kind of music again nowadays? You can say it HAS survived Grunge and Rap and all that stuff. It's very popular again and even younger people like me are loving it.

Robin: Magic! We believed in ourselves and we still do. We are the strongest generation in all ways that ever was. We are the generation that cultured Rock n’ Roll and it’s so real that you can not just blow it off. Everything stems from something... but it’s great to have the real thing in your hands. And in your ears. After a while you can hear the difference. The younger kids love it because they can not deny the energy that gets them so excited. So now they will reclaim it... take it back... and say it was always theirs... me me me. I just love it. Rock n’ Roll is here to stay... I know this because my daughter and all of her friends text it and tweet it all day long.... long live technology and the kids that will rule the world. Look out!

After being a bit thoughtful let's talk about the more beautiful things in life, for example your appearence. Maybe you were asked this a hundred times before, but what do you do to look so young? I don't want to say you are old, because you are always as old as you feel, you know. But I know lots of woman out there, who would kill to look like you in your age. What's your secret?

Robin: Thank you, Thomas. Maybe it’s that times have changed and we take better care of ourselves... or maybe it’s in the genes. I don’t do much more than enjoy life when I can and I take a positive attitude as much as possible. Plus I eat good and exercise a little. Not more.In the love dept. I think if you love a lot of people and you can feel it back... it will keep you young as well. Having teens around you all the time doesn’t hurt either. I’m very immature that way... I want to play!

You're also doing some guest appearences on different projects and I remember especially one song, which totally hit me: „Heat Of The Light“ from Shining Line. You sang that song and it is such an amazing track. I've still goosebumps all over me when I listen to this tune. Is there a story behind that one or behind recording it?

Robin: When the song came to me it came with a sad introduction about the object of love being a beloved pet. I was so moved by that.. I love my little Romeo (poodle) I know that might sound wierd to some people but the inspriation came from the love that the writer had for his pet who had passed. Great song!

How do you choose such projects. I can imagine you've lots of requests for doing guest vocals.

Robin: I turn down a lot of projects. I do some to help close friends and others for the die hard musicians that come to me with great projects. There’s no formula as this is how I am... I want to be helpful where I can be. But if a project is really not for me, I stand back.

What would have become of you if you didn't choose the path of being a musician?

Robin: I think that I might have been an A&R person... but after having my daughter Olivia, I would have been happy just to be her mother.

Have you some other hobbies, besides Rock'n'Roll? I think it is some kind of hobby for you and not just work, because you are doing this with so much passion, right?

Robin: I love to travel mainly. I never really had outside interests other than music... although until I dislocated my shoulder skiing, I used to love that.

Ok Robin, thank you for the conversation, I hope you had so much fun in answering my questions like I had asking them. I wish you all the best for the release of your new album!

Robin: Thank you Thomas... that was fun.... I want my fans to know that I am always trying to put out the best music I can. I take it very seriously and that I’m thinking of them. Without you I would not be able to stay in this arena. Stay with me and thank you for all of your support. Please stay in touch and always visit my webstie or facebook to find out where I am touring or what I’m up to at Stay healthy and lots of Peace & Love to you all!

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