Interviewed by Denys (Site Founder/Senior Staff Writer) Myglobalmind Webzine
Myglobalmind: Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions Lee, how are you?
Lee: Hi Denys,
You are welcome, I am well thank you …
Myglobalmind: Before we get into your upcoming solo album “Jamaica Inn”, let’s introduce yourself to readers that may not be familiar with your work. When did you get started in the music business for instance?
Lee:I started playing around the age of 13/14 years in bands, started doing pub gigs a year later …
Myglobalmind: What are some of the projects, bands you have been involved in through the years?
Lee: I was in a band called Native Cain, we got a deal in 1998 & recorded an album called The Primitive Soul ( Later to be re-released as Surveilance Angelstation) I had a stint in a version of Budgie with John Thomas on guitar, I have also done various backing vocals on albums from Pulse to The Wildhearts, & sung lead vocals on Ginger’s solo album Market Harbour & Tom Galleys Phenomena.
Myglobalmind: What was your first big break in the music business?
Lee: I got my first break with Pride back in 1993, we did a single & an album the following year,
Myglobalmind: Talk about first getting started as a bass player, how and when did you realize that you wanted to sing as well and make the switch to vocals?
Lee: Well I loved playing the bass in the 80’s but kinda lost my way, I gave up for a year or so, in that time I taught myself guitar & went on to become a guitar player.
I was in a band during 1989 that kept losing their vocalist, we could not get one for love or money, so we all ended up having a go at it & I ended up getting the job.
Myglobalmind: Obviously influences could be easily pinned to a few of the big bands, names that have also come out of West Midlands in the U.K, Black Sabbath, Glenn Hughes, Judas Priest, Robert Plant etc. What is it about that area and that created so much rock talent? And we’re you a fan of those bands growing up? I read somewhere the late Brad Delp of Boston was one of your favorites singer growing up right?
Lee: Yeah, I really loved early Boston, Brad really influenced me back then, his tone, phrasing, feel & the range the man had, a wonderful singer, probably the best of all time.
The midlands does conjure up a wealth of talent in the Rock world,
It is very strange that it is such a working class area, that in it’s day had many a factory or a foundry, maybe the Heavy Metal thing descended from those roots in some way?, who knows but an interesting thought eh?
Myglobalmind: How did you find yourself involved in the Melodic Rock genre? Was it a style of music that you we’re always interested in?
Lee: Definitely, I loved Rock music since my early teens; I connected with Guitars in the post punk/New Wave movement in the late 70’s.
Myglobalmind: How did you get on the Escape Music label?
Lee: I came to work with Escape on the Phenomena album Psychofantasy first, they gave me my break back into recording really & had faith in me, I have a good working relationship with Khalil & the team there.
Myglobalmind: Let’s get into your upcoming album and the style you went for. I thought it to be a more laid back bluesy type of rock album, compared to your first solo record. Was this the groove you we’re aiming for?
Lee: Yes, I set out to make a classic Rock album with a feel of the bands that influenced me in the beginning, & wanted the record to sound like it had been written & recorded back in the classic Rock hey day of the late 60’s, early 70’s, we tried hard to capture that.
Myglobalmind: I thought diversity is the name of the game on your new album, there are slower ballads, some blues rock stuff, even an r&b cover with a rock twist. Talk about the diversity in the album?
Lee: Music is so much a feel thing, I just go with the flow when it comes to creation, I guess it is what mood you are in at the time & what vibe you have too, you cannot force anything!
The album is more of a laid back journey of Soul & Blues, very Earthy & full of English heritage & all its roots, but that style really is a big part of my inner make up, I don’t get to show that very often, so this was a nice change …
Myglobalmind: Your vocals sound at times very eerily similar to the great Glenn Hughes, and you kinda of get that smooth feel rock/blues tunes on the record. Do you get that comparison often?
Lee: It is a great compliment, I know Glenn & we have talked about this lol, He was a big influence on me early on, I loved Play me out & Hughes & Thrall & albums like that, I have always been compared to him over the years I guess …
Myglobalmind: Talk about the “pirate” concept theme behind the album and how the songs tie end with the flow of the record itself if you can?
Lee: I love English Folklore, The whole thing, Highway Men, Pirates & Smugglers, so this time around recording a classic Rock album, the two things just went hand in hand to me, I thought of the Daphne Du Maurier novel & then I had a theme .., I am actually going there for a few days in January to celebrate the album coming out, which will be great.
Myglobalmind: What do you hope fans will get out of your new record?
Lee: I hope they just enjoy it for what it is really, lyrically I think I have penned some of my best stuff to date & musically I was really vibed at the time & hope people hear that in the vocal deliveries & in the overall songs in general.
I also got some great players on the album, a couple of wicked guitar players in Carl Anthony Wright & Des Sherwood, they play some blazing stuff for me & Imre on Drums, he is a fantastic Drummer, also I must mention Paul from Saracen, he laid down some great Hammond for me too on some tracks, Martin (Kronlund) also played a big part in getting the mood right on this.
Myglobalmind: Let’s jump back into your career once more. Do you have a favorite style of music to sing, or does it change depending on the material?
Lee: It can change, I will always love melodic Rock, but also have a love affair with soulful blues too …
Myglobalmind: Have you toured often since you started your career? And if so what has been your favorite show so far?
Lee: My most memorable one was supporting Black Label Society, we had come down from Scotland to gig on the evening in the midlands, I was so tired with the trip, I got on stage & felt like I was wearing Moon boots!, my legs were so heavy & tired for all the sitting & traveling throughout the day! Lol
Myglobalmind: Do you listen to much music, or stay in tune with the Melodic Rock scene? Do you have any favorite bands or genres that you are listening to at the moment?
Lee: I try to keep in touch with what is happening, I love Victory by Rob Moratti & also picked up the Toby Hitchcock offering which is also good, but I can listen to any style of music really ..
Myglobalmind: In my honest opinion Lee you have one of the best rock voices around, and with an emphasis on it’s versatility. How do you feel about your own vocal abilities and what you can do to take your music to the next level?
Lee: Thank you so much, that is very kind of you, I think the key is always sing for the song & not for yourself, then I don’t think you can go far wrong …
Myglobalmind: Any future plans, projects, bands that you will be working on after your solo album is released in January 20th, 2012?
Lee: Well on the live front we (Shy) are planning something special for Steve.
Lee: On the recording front I have already recorded two vocals for Tom Galleys new album out next year, & there is an album in the can that I have recorded with Tor Talle (Overland/Joe Lyn Turner) & Dave Boyce (Airrace/The Quireboys) called Skyscraper.
We hope to put this out in 2012, it is a commercial monster, some lovely stuff on there so watch this space!.
I will also hopefully be recording with some Norwegian friends of mine & hope to do another solo record next year too!, a busy year fingers crossed ;0)
Myglobalmind: What do you do when your not making music?
Lee: I walk & also watch dvds, I love old movies.
Myglobalmind: I would feel remiss if I didn’t ask you about the passing of Shy’s Steve Harris, I know is a tough time for his family and all his friends, guys in the band etc. Talk about that if you will please.
Lee: It has been very difficult for all of us, especially Steve’s wife Debbie, coming to terms with losing her soul mate …
We had no idea he was going to leave us like he did, as he was doing so well & responding to all his treatment, we miss him greatly, he was a lovely human being & so very talented …
Myglobalmind: Hey Lee thanks for taking the time and I wish you success on your new album and hope to hear from other projects very soon. Take care and the final words are yours.
Lee: Thank you Denys, I wish you well also … I would just like to thank everyone for the support, for those who get Jamaica Inn, I so hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed writing & recording it …
Webzine Review for Lee Small – Jamaica Inn