RUSS BALLARD – Legendary musician and songwriter discusses his career, the past, present, and future

RUSS BALLARD

Russ Ballard is an awarded-winning English musician, songwriter, and producer, best known from his compositions “New York Groove”, “Since You Been Gone”, “Winning”, “I Surrender”, “I Know There’s Something Going On”, “Liar”, “So You Win Again”, “You Can Do Magic”, and “God Gave Rock and Roll to You”, which were the big hit songs performed and recorded by other artists in the 1970s, 1980s, and the 1990s. Ballard started his musician career in the early ’60s with Buster Meikle & The Day Breakers, followed by the Roulettes and Unit 4+2. In 1969, Ballard joined rock band Argent which reached worldwide success with “Hold Your Head Up” and “God Gave Rock and Roll to You.” Ballard left the band in 1974 and started his full-time solo artist/songwriter career. It’s been close to sixty years since Ballard first time picked up the guitar, but there is no end in sight. Ballard is still actively writing for other artists, including Graham Bonnet, he’s doing selected public appearances every then and now, and he is working on a new solo album, his first since “Book of Love” (2006). I was pleased to meet him in April 2019 in his home town of Ware, United Kingdom, where he hosted the second Russ Ballard Experience, an event extraordinary for the closest friends and biggest fans only.


RUSS BALLARD EXPERIENCE

Let’s start with this Russ Ballard experience event because this is the reason why we are here now. First of all, I want to thank you for doing this such a unique and intimate event to your fans and your closest friends. How did you get an idea to start doing a thing like this?

Actually, Sue Robinson, who you’ve just met, started a site for me online. She said, “Can I start a newsletter for you for your fans and people that followed you?” And I said, “Yeah, I don’t mind.” And that was four years ago, five years ago. I can’t remember. And so, it’s a strange thing. You get messages from people, but you never really speak to them. And Sue said to me two years ago, “You should really do something where you meet the people that have right to or signed up for the newsletter.” I said, “Yeah, that’s a good idea. That is a good idea.” So that’s how we came to do the first one here last year. We did it here in Ware because I live in this town. And they’re trying to turn this building into an art center, like a hub, a restaurant, a function room where we’re playing tonight, a dance studio. I don’t know what this is going to be, a museum, a restaurant. That’s the whole idea, is to make this a hub of where people just come to hang. It’s a nice town. It’s a pretty town. And so that was the idea, second one to mine. [laughter].

From what I’ve heard, the last year went down very well. So, is this year event going to have the same formula as last year?

Ah, it was great. It’s a party, but it’s a great vibe. The vibe was great last year. Basically, I wanted to party. I wanted to party because– it’s a strange thing, but it’s an unusual thing because when I started playing, when I became a professional musician, it was a long time ago, and the guys here tonight, I started with these guys when I started to play sometime in the ’60s, and we’re all still here. We all started together, Bob Henry, Peter Philip, Mod Rogan and myself. We started individually backing Adam Faith. He was a very big singer in England, you know?

Yeah, I know the history “Laughs.”

There were two big singers, Cliff Richard, and Adam Faith, those two singers. And we started to make records with Adam Faith at the time of initiatives to make some string records. And then when the big thing happened in the ’60s, he changed this whole thing and wanted a band, and we backed him. I was 16 when I started with him. And so, he was already an established star, but we started making these rock records, Chris Andrews wrote the first one. So, when Sue suggested this should be called the Russ Ballard Ware Experience, I said what I’d love to do is get my old friends together because we’re still friends. We speak on the phone. We go out twice a year together. We go to restaurants and do things together, and we have good fun. We went to Germany last year for a few days. We went to Hamburg to see Chris’s show.

So, I said, “Yeah, why not? This will be great because they can still play.” Bob Henry was with the Kinks for 20 years. We did Argent together, and we were in Unit 4 + 2 together. We were in The Daybreakers; when I was 13, he was 14. So, we are really good friends. So, when Adam Faith started to make these new records, these rock records, it was Chris Andrews who wrote the songs. Chris Andrews also had a recording career himself. So, he had all these records himself, but he was a really good writer at that time in the ’60s. He was around the same time as The Beatles at the Star Club, and he’s still doing very well in Germany. And we were very good friends together because Adam Faith, Chris, us, we were all good friends. And as time goes on, you want to keep that bond as much and as long as you can keep it going. You’ll find that when you get older, your friendships become sweeter.

Adam Faith and the Roulettes in the ’60s. Russ is standing second on the left

I believe that at some point, friendship becomes more important than any other things in life.

It gets more and more important as you get older. Very, very important. And so, I phoned everybody, and they went, “Yeah. Yeah.” And so, we invite people here. So, most of the people here signed up to the newsletter, but they probably don’t even know The Roulettes, some of them. Many of them probably don’t, many of them probably do. And Chris, they would know the tunes. When they hear the tunes, they will know the songs.

I can’t wait for the event to start to hear all that stuff. However, what makes this Russ Ballad Experience an extraordinary event is the fact that you’re not asking crazy money from the fans to participate. It is the opposite way to work compared to how the bands and artists usually do nowadays. I’m not complaining, but could you explain a bit? “Laughs”

I’m losing money! [laughter]. I’ve been losing money. I won’t be making money. I’ll be losing money. Last year we charged nothing, but I paid the musicians. I paid for the mixer. I paid for the bar. So, I paid for all that. So, I didn’t care because as you get older, it’s important to do it. And this year I said to Sue, “Maybe we should charge just £10 a head.” She said “Only £10?”, But I don’t like to charge because some people– like you, you have plane fares as well. Some people have train fares. They have hotels, and it’s quite expensive, but I thought £10 is not too bad. Also, I can go talk to them, and they can say “develop this, develop that,” so, I’m trying to do something more. I’ve got Bob Bradbury (Hello) coming tonight as well. Bob Bradbury did the original “New York Groove.” He’s great. It’s going to be fabulous. But yeah, we’re all friends together.

Russ and the band with Bob Bradbury on stage

THE SECRET OF LIFE

As you said, it’s amazing that all those old friends of yours are still here to party with you. It’s just great.

We’re still here. Yeah, I know, it’s amazing, but life gets sweeter as you get older. It gets more and more important, and it gets more confusing. In a way, it’s better. I love life because I keep fit. So, I run every day. I’ve been vegan for years. I’ve been a vegetarian for 40 years. So, I’ve always run twice a day. I do resistance workout. I had a trainer every Friday; I had him yesterday. So, I try to keep– I want to live. I want to live.

It shows up that you take care of yourself. I could easily think that you are 50 something years-old, to be honest! “Laughs”

That’s very nice of you. Thank you. Thank you. But, no, I feel good. I feel very good, and life gets better. In many ways, the brain tells you you’re getting older. But physically, while you still can do it, you understand what a gift it is to be still able to play music. I couldn’t do this if I were a footballer. If I was doing anything else, I mean, you’re sort of retiring when you’re 60, 65 or whatever, you retire.

And if you’re a professional sports guy, you are retired at the age of 35 or something?

Yeah. Yeah. You’re retired. You love your sport, but you’re retired. Everything you ever wanted to do is a sport, you’ve put all your energy into football. So, you play, and you play, and you play, and you work, and you work. You earn good money. And then at thirty-five, you still feel young. You don’t feel old at thirty-five, but your career is finished. You think about that. But with music, you can still play. You can still play the guitar. You can still do it. While you can do it, you got to keep doing it. I haven’t done enough of it to be truthful. I’ve always played. Every day I’ve played, played guitar, played piano, been in the studio, but not enough.

It’s funny. All these guys who kind of started it all, this rock and roll stuff in the ’60s, they all keep on saying the same phrase, “I can’t retire. I don’t want to retire” But actually, you are the guys who started it all so, no one actually couldn’t retire from music before you guys “Laughs.”

Who started it? Yeah. It’s true.

Because, if I think about it a bit from my point of view, I started my music listening with Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Argent, and they’re all still around. The line-ups might have changed, and not everyone is with us anymore, but those who are, they still keep on doing what they love the most, and I find it amazing.

We are still there. Yeah. We all started together. Not so much Sabbath because they came from the Midlands. They came from Birmingham. But those guys were learning from the same– they had the same history. They were learning from the same people. The Lonnie Donegan and the blues guys that came before. The Howlin’ Wolf and the Blind Lemon Jefferson and the Muddy Waters and all those sorts of people. They were learning from those in the say way. We all listened to them. But, I mean, Jimmy Page was playing around here when I was playing. But Jimmy was playing with Neil Christian and the Crusaders. He always looked great. Jimmy always looked great in a band. And I was playing around here. We were good friends. But we never played in a band together. But our paths were always crossing. But he came from south of the river, and we were north of the river. So, you only saw each other at shows and gigs and things. I saw Jimmy a few years ago at the lifetime achievement awards, and he came in late because Pete Townshend was getting– they had the same manager, Bill Curbishly, and Pete Townshend was getting the lifetime achievement award, I think it was, and they were at that table over there and I was over here. But Jimmy and Bill came in late. The lights were down, and it was just about to start. And they walked in through the tables, and suddenly Jimmy looked at me, and he went– this is so stupid, I said, “Are you still playing?” He went. “Yeah. Are you?” I went, “Yeah [laughter].”

 

WORKING WITH GRAHAM BONNET

You’ve worked with many artists over the years, and one of those is the former Rainbow vocalist Graham Bonnet. I noticed that you wrote a song “Livin’ in Suspicious” for his most recent album “Meanwhile in Garage,” which was released last year. Would you tell something more about that particular song and how that collaboration came about?

Oh, yeah. Yeah. The last one? Well, I didn’t know if Graham would do that song, “Suspicion.” I thought that was too soft for him, actually. But I thought he was going to harden it up, but it sounded very much liked my demo with a great rock solo on it. But I didn’t know whether he would do that one. He phoned me, and he said, “Have you got a song?” He does phone me and ask me for songs because before I’d written a song called– oh, God. I can’t remember what it was called. It was more of a rock song. I said, “What kind of thing do you want, Graham? What kind of tune you want?”. This was the album before, “What kind of tune would you like?” And he said, “I don’t know. Something like–” he didn’t say psychedelic, but he did say, “Sort of kind of like Queen.” Progressive. He said, “Progressive. Kind of like Queen?” So, in my head, I was thinking of different time changes and things like that. So, I thought that’d be interesting to do that. What was the song called from this album before? He did put it out as a single?

You mean the song “Mirror Lies” from the “My Kingdom Come” E.P.?

Oh, was it called “My Kingdom Come”? “Mirror Lies” That’s my song.

You’ve been working with Graham for a long time, something like forty years, and it’s a very long time. So, when you and Graham met for the first time?

Yeah, yeah, it has been a long time. We didn’t meet until after “Since You’ve Been Gone” when the Rainbow recorded “Since You’ve Been Gone” and it was a hit. That’s ’79, yeah. It’s a long time. And then he did a solo album, and then I went to the studio, and he wanted to do “S.O.S.,” I think, on the first album, his first solo album. And Cozy Powell was on drums. And I’ve been there for a couple of days. And he said, “Got any idea about the songs I could do?” And I suggested, I said, “Why don’t you do a rock version of The Ronettes tune, “Be My Baby.” I thought he could have done a great rock version. I wasn’t there when they did it. But I suggested that one. I think they recorded it as well.

They did, and they also recorded your old Argent track “Liar” for the album.

Oh, that was mine. That’s right, yeah. I think he put that out as a single, but Three Dog Night had already done that. They already had that hit with that in the States. They have done a great orchestral version of that too with a 60-piece Chicago Symphony or something like those big symphony orchestras.

 

“I’M A SONGWRITER”

During this interview, you’ve said several times, “I had this hit, and I got that hit,” so my question goes, at which point or your career you understood that you are a songwriter, and you got the talent?

I always thought I could do it, but it was about finding a kind of a niche, a niche for myself, finding a kind of a being able to sort of highlighting my songs. And that came with Argent, really had that “Hold Your Head Up.” I did three songs for the first album because Rod Argent was always a great songwriter from the moment he wrote “She’s Not There,” such a great tune. And he was 17 when he wrote that. I don’t think that Rod realizes how good he was. But he was playing all those chords and stuff. And later on, he was living in St. Albans, which is 20 minutes from here. I’ve always lived here. He’s lived over there, but Bob and I have lived here. So, we used to see a lot of each other. So, when we did the first Argent album, he said, “Do you want to write some songs for this album?”

I’d already written a song actually. I’d written a song for The Shadows when I was 14. I wrote a song for The Shadows, which they recorded, which surprised me. It was the first time I ever went into a studio and recorded my instrumental with my band and my brother and Bob Henry, and Bernie Benson. We did this instrumental, and The Shadows recorded it, strange enough, four years later. So, I felt, I can obviously do tunes. They liked it enough. I was using a thing called a tone control, a foot pedal before wah-wah. It was a tonal control segment just based, but it was very individual sound at the time. And when they recorded, they recorded with a Dearmond time control pedal, which was interesting. They used the same idea. But I was signed to a publishing company.

Don’t you know a guy called Lionel Bart?

No, I don’t?

He was a very famous songwriter here in the rock and roll era. He was the biggest. He wrote “Oliver!” musical. “As long as he needs me, I know where I must be.” All those songs. “Food, glorious food.” Great tunes. He wrote those tunes later, but he wrote rock songs. “Got myself a crying, talking, sleeping, walking, living doll.” Number one here. It was number one. It was a big, big, big record, and it was number one again years later. So, he started a publishing company, and I signed to him. And there was a band in Sweden called Ola & the Janglers that recorded one of my tunes, and apparently, it did quite well in Scandinavia. So, I heard. I don’t know. But then I’m thinking to myself– I was quite pleased with some of the things I was doing. I thought they were good. But you have to have a platform, you know? You have to have some a sort of profile before labels bother to listen to you. They get lots of demos on desks, and nobody listens to them until somebody says, “Here’s a good song. He’s a songwriter. He can write songs.” So, for that first Argent album, I did “Liar,” “Schoolgirl,” and “Lonely Hard Road,” and they seemed to get a lot of attention. So that was good. Then I wrote three on the next album, two for the next, and four for the fourth.

When “Liar” came out by Three Dog Night, that gave me a big profile in America, because they recorded Hoyt Axton, they recorded Randy Newman, and they recorded my songs. They did two of mine. So that was good. Then everyone started recording my songs. People started looking up my songs on my albums. And I released an album called “Winning,” and Roger Daltrey did “Just a Dream Away” from that. Santana did “Winning.” The song called “Winning,” the title song. Bay City Rollers did a song called “Are You Cuckoo?”. Who else? I had four quite big songs on that album. Of course, “Since You’ve Been Gone” was on that album as well. So, I mean, all those songs, they did well. But the problem was, for me, I’d been on the road, then, for 12 years. By the time it was 1978, I’d been on the road for 12 years with Adam Faith, with Unit 4+2, with many different bands.

I 100% understand, however, going back to the original question, so you realized that you’re a great songwriter at the time you were working on the first Argent album. That’s when you get the idea?

Yeah. I thought– because “Liar” was a hit, and they took “Liar.” And people were saying– then I had “Liar” and “Schoolgirl” on an A and B-side. They had all those songs on there, but two of my songs were the A and B-side in the States at one time. So, you tend to– and I just loved it, Marko. I loved it. And it wasn’t the case of doing it for money. If you like something, you just do it. I love playing. I love playing the guitar, I love playing the keyboard and stuff, and I love going to the studio. It’s a playground, isn’t it? I mean, the world is a playground when you find a passion. It makes sense. The world makes sense when you find a passion, right. Most people don’t find passion.

If the world found passion if the individuals found passion, each person, they never find it, so they settle doing a job to pay the bills, to pay the mortgage, so they never get that– you know, this is a playground. This world is a playground. If you have a passion, you wake up every day, look forward, I look forward to getting up, picking up the guitar and going in into where my piano’s situated, play the piano, go into the studio, work with my son in his studio, or you come and do something like this. God, it’s a passion. It’s a passion, and then it’s a playground. And that’s what the world is. It’s a playground.

I have one question about your solo career. You left Argent in 1974 and pursued a solo and song-writing career. Although you, later on, did several reunion shows with Argent, you never joined any other bands as a fulltime member. So, in your opinion, what is the most significant difference in being a solo artist or be a member of the group, like Argent?

Well, the thing is, when you’re with four sorts of very strong characters, they put their input into each song and even to my songs, and I put input into their songs, so it becomes a hybrid of elements. There’s a chemical thing. And sometimes you have a song that goes completely different from the way you’ve written the song because this keyboard thing goes in here and vice versa, so it is that. The problem with being the solo artist is you write the song, and I usually end up playing the keyboards on that; end up playing the guitar on that; end up doing the backing vocals on it; end up doing the singing on it; and it becomes probably, maybe one dimensional. And you sometimes need another pair of ears, another head, that suggests things that take you away, maybe. Yeah, sometimes I get it right, like with “America” because I basically did that on my own. I did all the playing on “America” when I did it. And so, I was doing the playing, but I’m seeing them as a producer and as a writer, and it’s very difficult to do it all yourself, but that’s how it’s been. I just love writing and playing. Does that answer your question? “Laughs”

Argent band in 1971. Bob Henry, Rod Argent, Jim Rutherford, and Russ Ballard

KISS AND TELL

Speaking about great songs you wrote, of course, we can’t pass “God Gave Rock and Roll to You,” which is one of my all-time favorite tunes.

Well, we’ll do it tonight. We’ll do it for you! “laughs.”

Before going there, I have one question about the early days. In May of 1973, Kiss supported Argent in selected shows in the U.S. Do you have any good memories from those shows?

Yeah. ’73. Yeah. You’re absolutely right. I remember playing in New York with them, playing at the Academy of Music in New Jersey. Yeah, it was great. I remember walking into the soundcheck in the morning. And they were setting up. And I never heard of Kiss; I had never seen anything about them before. There was a rostrum on the stage, and there was the Kiss logo behind, white lit-up logo. And then you see the rostrum going around and coming up, going around and stuff like that. It looked fantastic. But they weren’t made up, so I felt this looks interesting. Yeah, you could tell it was going to be something good or something big. I remember walking backstage. I remember seeing them backstage. Suddenly, I saw these guys with the makeup [laughter] and the platform shoes and stuff. It was fantastic. So, I never spoke to them. We sort of just nodded as you do, but we never spoke. But they seem like great guys. They seem like great guys. I never spoke to Ace Frehley either which is absolutely mad. I never spoke to him. I never talked to any of them, which is crazy.

I did see– You can ask Gene Simmons. I was in L.A., going back to 1989 in 1990. And I was staying at the Sunset Marquis, and he was at the Sunset Marquis. I was having breakfast on my own. I was there on my own. But I was having breakfast with a guy called– God, what’s his name. It was a reviewer, a journalist. Peter, can’t think of his last name, American guy. And he was facing that way towards the pool, and the others entered the pool. And we were the quiet end of the pool. He was looking at the other end of the pool. And he said, “There’s Michael Bolton over there.” And I’d just seen Michael Bolton on the Johnny Carson Show. I’d Just seen him, and he was doing, “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You?” He was doing that. I felt that’s going to be a big hit. And he was chatting to Gene Simmons. They were sitting at the table together, and I didn’t know it. But Peter told me that because he was facing that way, and so we continued our talk. And suddenly, they walked past, and they stopped at the table. Gene Simmons, we never spoke, but Michael Bolton spoke, and he said, “Are you, Russ Ballard?” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “Do you ever write with anyone?” And I said, “I just wrote songs with John Waite.” I wrote with Bad English; I was writing a couple of songs with them.” And he said, “Would you do something with me?” And I went, “Yeah.” And he said, “I can’t think of any other Englishman I’d rather write with,” which was really nice. So, they walked away, and he said, “What room are you in?” And I told him the room number, and he phoned me down. He said, “When are you going home?” This was a Sunday. He said, “When are you going home?” I said, “Tuesday.” I couldn’t wait to get home to see my kids. I just wanted to see my kids. Every day, I’d speak to my son. He’d go, “When are you coming home? When are you coming home?” I said, “I’ll be home on Tuesday.” I’ve been there for two weeks.

This is the reason I didn’t go back on the road, really, the main reason. I wanted to be with my kids. Because I could write, I could– I always missed playing live. I always missed it. I always missed playing live, but the fact is, you’ve got that problem, the kids. They don’t want to be on– you don’t see them on the road, and I miss them. I just miss the kids so much.

I can understand it, but if we go back to the original question. You never spoke with any of the KISS guys?

No, no. It’s amazing, isn’t it?

Okay, one last question about KISS, the band you never talked with “Laughs.” In 1991 KISS released “God Gave Rock’ n’ Roll to You,” and it was a big hit, and it also brings name Argent back to the headlines. And I found it funny when Gene Simmons said, “Yeah, we were supporting Argent back in the day, and now we are giving them something back.”

It’s true. Yeah, it’s true.

What do you think about that comment, and how do you like their version of the song?

They saw it better than us, and they had the feel, and they did it great. The consent of Argent was to do it slow “beating rhythm.” And I said, “It’s too slow.” But he (Rod Argent) said, “Oh, it’s a great feeling on the song.” I always thought it was too slow. KISS had that groove to it, and I think that they saw it really well. And even the lyrics were probably, obviously, international lyrics. What I wrote was my bit of humor, saying, “Love your friend and love your neighbor, love your life, and love your labor.” I meant that. “No, it’s never too late to change your mind. Don’t step on snails; don’t climb in trees. Love Cliff Richard, but please don’t tease.” It was meant to be a bit of humor there, which the English would understand that because he recorded a song called “Please Don’t Tease.” “Love Cliff Richard, but please don’t tease.” But they kept my lyrics at the end, which has turned out to be true. “If you want to be a singer or play guitar, man, you’ve got to sweat, or you don’t get far. It’s never too late to work nine to five. And if you’re young, then you’ll never grow old. Music can make your dreams unfold. How good it feels to be alive.” They were my lyrics anyway. I think that they kept most of them there at the end.

I think that releasing “God Gave Rock ’n Roll II You” was a jackpot for KISS, it helped them to get back on charts, and it was a kind of savior of their career at that point.

Yeah, and it was used in the movie as well, “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey.” Do you know they’re making another Bill and Ted film?

Really? I didn’t know that?

My son, he told me the other day that they’re making another one. He just came out with it. Well, I didn’t know. I’ve never read it, but he told me the other day. He said, “Dad, did you know they’re having–” It might be part three. “They’re making another Bill and Ted film,” he said, “so probably “God Gave” will be there as well?”, I said, “It might be. They might bring it back again.”

Russ Ballard on stage!!

NEW RUSS BALLARD STUDIO ALBUM

What’s the state of your new solo “It’s Good to be Here” album? It’s been in works for several years already.

Well, I’ve made the album. My son is mixing it. I mean, it sounds really, really good actually. I’ve mixed it already myself, but I was never happy with it. And I said to my son, “I’ve signed B.M.G. They’ve signed me as an artist, and so they had the album. But I’ve probably written 20 new tunes since I did “It’s Good to be Here,” and put them down. The album’s going to have about thirteen, fifteen, sixteen songs on it. I’ve cut a few of the old songs as well. I’ve done “Since You’ve Been Gone,” with strings, no drums. Just strings and piano, which I think sounds really good. I’ve also done another version of “New York Groove” which came out great as well.

I have one idea for you. How about asking the artists who did the hit version of the songs to be guests on your upcoming album, and play or sing on “their songs”?

I could have done, and I should have done all that kind of stuff. I should have done it. You’re absolutely right. I might even do it because the album is not coming out until the Autumn or maybe even later on?

I could imagine that someone like Ace Frehley would love to do it. At least he could play a solo on “New York Groove” or something like that?

Oh, that’s a good idea. I might ask him actually? But I have this idea of taking it a little bit further, so we do a, Yeah, you’d probably be a good producer. You’ve got those ideas. It’s good.

Thank you. However, the album is coming out on the fall or something, but as you mentioned, it was already briefly available as a download by BMG, but this version will be different to that release?

Oh, yeah, yeah. Oh, it’s coming again. It was out —it sold about 400 copies on downloads. But no one knew it was out. There was nobody because nobody really knew about it. It had no publicity. And my friends started the site. So, he had no idea of really what he should be doing. He started the site. And in the end, I said, “Well, BMG has offered me to release this.” And he said, “Oh, it’s fine, Henry.” He gave me. Well, I didn’t sign anything, so I took it back that he gave everything, our money, the pictures, and everything back. He gave me all back.

STATE OF MUSIC BUSINESS AND THE FUTURE?

Okay, the last question. So, you have been in a music scene since the ’60s, ‘and you’ve seen all the twists and changes in the business. How do you see the state of music now? Is there still a future to be a musician in this current world?

Well, it’s changed much. I mean, years ago, in most of my career, it has been, you tour to sell records. But now it’s completely the other way. I guess change is a law of the universe and so you have to accept change. There’s no point fighting against it. So that’s how it is. So now I’m going to go on the road. That’s part of my deal with BMG. that I promote “It’s Good to Be Here.” I’m doing a gig, next month in Portugal, but I’m going to do the whole of Europe, hopefully. I’ve been speaking to an agency, On stage, in Germany. They’re called On Stage and Scandinavia, Belgium – all of these places – Holland, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, again. So that’s what they’re talking about, so. Well, and that’s the idea, and I’m probably going to use some of these guys here tonight. I’m definitely going to use Bob on the drums.

From the fan perspective, this is a piece of excellent news. Many people will finally see you performing live, but I know that every coin has its two sides, of course.

Yeah. I know. Yes. Yeah. That’s how it’s changed. But if you like touring, which I do, but the kids are older now, as well. But I’m very close to the family. We’re a very, very tight family.

But have you ever been thinking to travel with your family when you are on tour? That’s what some artists have done when they’re on tour?

Yeah. There is always that option, but it’s not good for kids. It’s not good for kids. Not good for young kids. I don’t think they’d travel. Not really. But this alongside from keep getting home, much as fly home. Get a couple of days off and fly back. They asked me how many days I could do it in a row. I said, “Probably three.” But now I’m thinking to myself, “Maybe I should’ve said two. Then I can get home for two days.” But yeah. I can do that now. It should be funny. I better get up there, I guess, haven’t I?

Definitely! However, it’s going to be great that you’re finally going to tour more because you haven’t done too many public live performances during the past few years?

No. Not many. Not that many. I did a guest thing with Ritchie Blackmore, at the O2, last August. Not August, the August before. Last August I did the show with Trevor Horn. And it went down really well actually. It was very, very good. I did a tour here two years ago. I did a show with Brian May. I did an evening with him. After that, Brian said, “Would you like to even–?” “Yeah. Of course. Of course, I will.” And then he said, “I’ll get Rick. I’ll get Rick. I’ll get Rick Wakeman. So, it was three of us. It was a lot of fun.

I have seen that one in YouTube “Laughs.” But our time seems to be used now. Thank you for doing this interview and best of luck with your new album!

Thank you. I’m pleased with the new one. Actually, I’m really pleased. And I think it might get heard just because I’ve got a good label now, sort of, behind me.

OFFICIAL RUSS BALLARD WEBPAGE

 

 

LIVE PICTURES FROM RUSS BALLARD EXPERIENCE, WARE, UK 2019

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