| I thougth it was time check up with lead vocalist Randy Smith of 8084 and see what he had to say about the new album "So Far". It was a very interesting and long interview, we talked about everything. So check in this interview and see what Randy has to say about the album and much more.
|Hi Randy and welcome back.
Randy Smith: Hi there, this is the first online real-time interview that I have done....pretty damn cool. # It?s the same for me. Should I begin?? -Fire away....
OK, first of all can you tell us little about 8084???
Randy:Ok... pardon my taping skills....I?m better at singing!!!! The band began back in 1982.... I was just a young pup then...we all were. We began with the hopes of becoming stars on the NE/US club circut. As we progressed, we began to see a bigger picture and the writing began too develop... much of the real details are available through our web site (www.8084.com) in the history section... So if I leave anything major out you can find it there. In 1987 we released the debut album on Semaphore Records over there. We also signed a management deal with a group out of Montreal, Canada. They connected us to a deal with CBS Canada and that led to the project with Aldo Nova. When that project was 70% completed, Aldo....well.....suffered a few set backs and the album deal finally was dropped. We then connected with Hirsh Gardner(New England) again and completed "Love and War". That brings us up to 1989 and the year Chuck died. After his death, we re-grouped and went forward by touring the States non-stop for 2-3 years. We released "Satisfaction G" in 1991, but at that point I had become a bit weary of the road and biz and decided to quit. They continued without me and I came back to them again full time in 1997. "That was an interesting story. -Whew! My hand is tired, your turn.
Ok next one. Tell me about the new release "So Far"!!!
OK...."So Far" is a 11 song collection of what we feel in the "best" of 8084 from that period. It appears to be selling well over there and has really put me back into the creative mode. I mean we re-recorded the lead and background vocals for 5 of the tunes. I think it is a fairly good representation of the type of music that we and other AOR bands recorded back in that time period.
Did you ever think of recording a brand new album???
Randy: Well yes we did and we are currently doing that now!!! We have 4 songs completed and are busy writing and recording those now in our studio for hopefully a release date in december/2000. #Cool, that sounds great. How did you get involved with Hirsh Gardner of New England fame that produced "So Far"???? -Hirsh met us at a club in Boston back in the late 80?s. He was such a nice man that we didn?t believe he was who he said he was!! :-) He once went out on the town with us and when we all got back in the band?s van to drive home at 3:00 a.m., Hirsh decided that he was hungry and ate my leftover Chinese food that had been sitting in the van for 2 days! We laughed like heck! But he seemed to like it....LOL
(laughs), I think the ballad from your debut "When I Think Of You" is a lovely ballad. But on "So Far" you don?t have a single ballad, how come???
Randy: Well, in the US, songs like "Surrender" and "Lonely At The Top" would be considered ballads. But I think it was mostly that on this collection, we wanted an album full of in your face rockers to catch peoples attention again. We have a beautiful ballad on the new project that is called "Without You" that I think is one of the best songs Andre has ever written. #Can?t wait to hear it. Well there?s nothing wrong with just rockers as long as they are good. - Cool... I appreciate your time and energy to do this interview.
This is a question you almost have answered already. Aldo Nova was gonna produce your second album "Love and War" but he never did, what happened??
Randy: That is a touchy subject for legal reasons. Bottom line is that he went through some personal challenges and dragged us down with him. I really thought that he was very talented and also very moody. He and I wrote "Too Late For Love" after I came up with the chord progression in his living room and showed him the chorus idea. We wrote that song in the next hour!!! It was completed that fast.... it was pure magic. But that was about all that I remember other than his "challenges".
Ok, I understand. Did you write any more songs with Aldo Nova???
Randy: ABSOLUTELY NOT. I was and still am very disappointed in him as a producer and business associate. I cannot and will not chance something like that happening again.
At what point are you in the band?s career???
Randy: We are at a point in the band?s career that I think we have alot to offer the music scene both in Europe and the States. I am older now, but much more focused and mature. With the web, we can and have reached and touched people that I never would have dreamed I could reach. The new album (the one we are working on) is of all brand new material..... I love the feel of the songs. Andre and I write most of the material and then collaberate together. We have a song called "7 Days" that ids a real rocker but suddenly the bridge turns into something Paul McCartney would write complete with lush strings parts like Beatles via 67-68. The guitar solo turns into a very Pink Floyd type of direction...then back to the straight ahead rocker. It really is fun to be able to own your own studio, and record and write as you feel instead of what you think people want to hear. I am very excited about this project.
Same for me, I?m really excited to hear "7 Days", sounds like a great song. So you have your own studio at home????
Randy: Both. I have a computer set-up using Cakewalk software and my Ensoniq keyboards. I create the rough idea/draft here complete with a rough vocal. Then we take it to our 24 track digital studio and re-record or fly the midi tracks in. There we can work and play at our leisure. Andre and Frank actually own the studio. There is a link on our page to it. The guys in April Wine come in often to play around and help us out. Remember them??
Yes, I remember them, that?s pretty cool. Do they have a new album coming out soon??
Randy: They released one back about 5 years ago and from what I have heard from Brian the guitarist, they were working on another. We met them via the Aldo connection. I also met Celine Dion there as Aldo worked with her then and now, helping produce and write for her.
No way man, I must say that the girl can really sing.
Randy:Yes she can... but I remember thinking that boy...she is young and kinda cute!
You have toured with acts like Warrant, Henry Lee Summer and Blue Oyster Cult to mention few. What are your best tour memory??
Randy: Well....there are many. Ummm.....many that perhaps we shouldn?t relive unless they were off the record!!! :-)But I think that Henry Lee was the best performer out of the group. He had such sincere pure energy in his stage act that I was always just blown away by him. And what a voice!!!!
What is the biggest crowed you played at front off ?
Randy: 1000 plus
Man that must feel great??? Do you enjoy live shows???
Randy: You can?t even begin to imagin the rush you get....it?s better than sex! Very much so....but I really feel that I have something artistic that needs to come out of me in the next few years....it?s almost like a something ?s pushing me to create and record...it?s weird. Built in order to do that, we have decided not to tour other than within a few states 200-300 miles...so that we can be home and focus on the next album. It?s hard to be at your best in the studio when yo have sang 10 nights in a row live. But the live thing is cool because when I started at age 15, I did for the woman. Now I do it for the art and creativity. I think that if you are an artist, you have a need and responsibilty to share that with others.
Well then can we forget to see 8084 playing live here in Europe for some time?
Randy: Not true. If the money were right and we could work it out, I would most certainly come over to tour. All of us in the band are fathers of young children, so we feel that responsibility comes first.
Yes I understand that family comes first.
Randy: Being a rock star (quote unqoute) doesn?t mean as much to me as when I was young. Life is very short and I love to write and sing. But there are other things that are important also and I have watched many children be forgotten and out by the wayside for their parents career. It doesn?t have to be that way.
But it must have been great to play AOR in the 80?s when it was so big??
Randy: YES! We are still cool and popular to many fans here in the States, but not like the craziness of the 80?s. There was a period of time when we would go out to the bank or get lunch and someone would always be there asking for an autograph. It was very flattering.
YES, those were the days
Randy: But you know what? I think everything goes in cycles and I believe eventually people will wake up and realize 3/4 of the music on the radio today sucks. I mean, it is almost a sin to actually be able to sing and play well. I listen to ceratin band and think..."OK, where is the attraction" Where is the melody???... you know what I mean? #Yes, tell me about it, the radio stations really sucks over here to. What are your influences?? -Beatles, Queen, Kansas and ummm..Journey. I still rehearse to Steve Perry?s first solo album. That was a great record!
Some classic bands.
Randy: Believe it or not, I also listen to Rick Springfield. Good song writer. "Living in Oz" is still one of my favorit albums. When I met Neal Schon, he told me that even he listens to RS and that "Oz" is one of his favorites!
Man you guys have great taste, that album is a classic.
Randy: When Bad English was around, I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Jonathan Cain for 2-3 hours. What a great guy..... He and I spoke of the 80?s the same way you and I are talking....
Mr Cain, he is a fantastic songwriter and keyboardplayer.
Randy: And a good human also. Of course, J Waite was a bit tipsy that evening and actually accidentially kicked a hole in one of Andre?s Marshall cabinets on stage! We laughed forever about that and when Andre sold the cabinet, he got more for it because of it!! LOL
OK, next question. What kind of music do you listen today?
Randy: Daily.... I listen to alot of classical.... I am a big Vivaldi fan......I listen to Matchbox 20, Lenny Kravitz....still listen to things like Journey live..... I like Backstreet Boys for the harmonies.....that kind of stuff. I think the Goo Goo Dolls are hip also.
You have a wide taste. I have to agree with you about the Backstreet Boys that they have very good harmony vocals.
Randy: But I honestly think Britney Spears stinks. LOL
I agree with you. It must have been hard to kept going on after the car accident where your keyboardist Charlie Hawthorne died?
Randy: Yes... when I found out, I cried very hard outside in the snow...it just didn?t make sense. But I learned things from Charlie and we still talk about him today. He was quite a guy.
You have had as a band quite a lot of bad luck through out the years?
Randy: Seems it doesn?t it?? But I have learned from it and I feel that I am absolutely more on top of my music game then ever before. I guranntee that you have not heard the last from 8084.
I hope not!!!
Randy: Not a chance. Andre and I are tighter than ever. And also, our original drummer Gary Spaulding has recently re-joined the band. So the unit is completely intact as the original minus Chuck.
You have had several drummers in the band, why come??
Randy: Did you see the movie Spinal Tap???
Randy: That is us....they just kinda "blow up" on us...LOL We tend to be very exact with parts and many drummers just couldn?t cut it. Frank is a great bass player and just wants and expects the best out of them. Scott was a nice guy, but he had a family situation arise and had to change gears. He was fun to be with and a good drummer. Gary however is one of us. He lived, breathed and died 8084 before and we know that he wants to do it again.
What are you guys doing when your not in the studio? Do you have dayjobs??
Randy: Andre and Frank own the studio and make a very good living on that. Gary is into bike racing and has learned to be an excellent repairman. I am involved with benefits and investments.
What do you think about all the reunions??
Randy: Very cool....some of the bands I wish wouldn?t reunite...lol....but I think that people just are beginning to want better music...more melody....music that will remain and take them somewhere else...there isn?t alot of that today.
Yes, you got that right.
Randy: So the reunions will give them that. I understand that Kansas has a new album coming out too. I was a bit disappointed in the last Journey album thoug. But who am I to say that when the man with the best voice in rock is singing!!!!! #Yes I heard about the new Kansas album. Well the Journey album had to many ballads but still a good album, but as you said the man with the best rock voice was back. - I agree....they have some other guy now don?t they???
Yes, they have a new one, he sang in a group called Tall Stories. He has a good voice very similar to Steve Perry.
Randy: OK....that guy is great also. Tall Stories was a cool band. But Steve is the man......
OK, many thanks for taking your time to do this interview. Now I have just one question left and that is. Are there something you would like to add or say to the readers of Melodic.net??
Randy: Ummmm...that we musicians really do apprecioate the fans of AOR and melodic Rock. Without the support of the fans and people like you, we would be artists without a medium.
By Juha Harjula melodic.net (c)