||Well, it's been a long while since you last been into a studio recording. How does it feel to be back?
Ha, the last time I recorded ANYTHING was back in 1999/2000 for the Space Cadets lp "cadets A-Go-Go", after that, for no reason I embarked on a 10/11 year 'silence'. For some reason I had no urge to do a anything creative, and quite honestly needed a break. in the 90s not 1 year passed by without me doing something, Red Hot n Blue ( 4 albums) Space Cadets (3 albums) Kid Rocker (2 albums) and countless other little projects with other bands, producing songs, writing songs, the Chessie Bits, live shows,record hops and so on....it was a mad decade. In the noughties all I did was record hops and shows with the Space Cadets. Then it dawned on me that 10 years had passed and i hadnt recorded a single song,thats a long long time in a musicians life y'know! it feels really good to be doing something again and recording has always been my favorite part of the whole business.
What decided you to make this record?
I decided to go and do a solo project because I just had this desire to do something. I was watching all my old mates put out songs and cds etc..etc..., watching all these new bands recording and putting out stuff and I kind of felt 'left-out' i guess. why hadnt i did a recording for such a long time? I really dont know, all I can say is this... in that time I've had a lot of great ideas of what I 'really' wanted to do, and it didnt involve another band, this was going to be something I wanted to do, My ideas, MY control, MY style and MY desicions on what will and will not be on a new recording. So it had to be a solo project with me at the helm as MOUSE ZINN, with musicians helping me with what I wanted to do.
You've always been in a band configuration (Red Hot'n'Blue, Space Cadets, Switchblade). This time it sounds like a real solo album. Does it change something in your approach?
Im now 27 years onwards from my 1st red hot n blue recordings back in 1983. And in that time ive always been part of a group as such, so now I see myself as an artist who would more prefer to have a solo part to my reportoir, and also do the shows with the Space Cadets. lets see how it pans out, but the future could be very strange on the rockin scene, and who knows, I may even be asked to do my Red Hot n Blue songs 20 years from now when I'm in my mid-60s, you just never know. so at the moment im focusing on this new solo thing and getting my 1st solo album out for xmas/new year.
Can you tell us about the songs we'll find on the plater? What kind of music, styles, songs etc...
First of all, "vigilante Man" is an album of covers, I didnt want to write songs for this album, its a collection of some of my favorite songs that I've put my own stamp on and have wanted to record for a long long time. im almost finished recording it now and its sounding great and, at last, all of them ideas of the last 10 years are coming to fruit, its sounding really really good. its basically a country album with rock-a-billy elements and rockin rhythms inthe 50s style that i like. theres songs of war, death, sorrow, gunfights, vigilante men, its all dark and has a message to say, its a really thought out album which has taken most of this summer to record and plan. its all been recorded at my good friend Ricky Lee Brawns recording service in Luton, Valvemobile Studios (rickys home) all recroded on old microphones, mixing descks and machines. Ive also had 3 different band line ups to give the album a different feel thoughout. weve got fiddles, banjos, accordians, mandolins, drums, bass, electric guitar all sorts of differnt things going on. and...ITS ALL BEEN RECORDED LIVE!!! no drop-inns, no overdubs, nothing. what you will hear on vigilante man is acomplete 15 songs recorded in a room, just the way they used to do it, once the songs over, THATS IT!!,.. its done and nothings added nor taken away, it is a true LIVE album, my first EVER!! if we didnt get the right take , we'd do it again, and agian and so on till we got the right take. Im really happy with the album so far...really happy!!
Who played with you on this sessions?
Playing on the new album is a lot of different musicians that I've admired from a distance for a long while and always wanted to record with them in some way, so the solo album gave me this chance to get them together just for the recordings. The first 4 recordings were done with the Union Canal String Band, a local Luton Bluegrass outfit who I heard busking at the Hot Rod Hayride in 2009, since then i wanted to do some bluegrass/country numbers and the guys very niceley agreed to come record at Rickys Valvemobile studio in Luton. so, the first four songs comprise of..Jamie Mockbridge-banjo/accordian, Jimbo Alpin-Rhythm Guitar/Harmonica, Dan Robinson-Bass and Jon Rickards-Mandolin /Fiddle.
The 2nd line up I wanted a more rockin approach on so i asked 3 old pal from around the scene to come to Luton to do 6 songs, on this line-up was Paul Gaskin-Lead guitar, Ian 'Dollar bill' Bowerman-Drums and Kevin Klump-bass.
In the next 10 days I've got 5 more songs to do to finish the album, and my final muicians are going to be some of my fave guys at the moment, some fresh blood and an old man you can say! it will be, Ricky Lee Brawn-drums, Darren Lince from Jack Rabbit Slim on Lead Guitar, Dazza from Slim Slip and the Sliders on Bass, and a final addition will be Daniel Jeanrenauld on lead guitar who will play lead guitar on a track he wrote called "Its Gonna Rain". The whole album is produced by Rickey Lee Brawn at Valvemobile studiod in Luton, England.
Where does the name "Vigilante Man" come from by the way?
Vigilante Man is the title of the album and its an old Woody Guthrie tune I've always loved and it just seemed right to call the album Vigilante Man as its a solo album and it fits!
Do you have a label or will you revive Zinn to release it?
At the moment I'm trying to 'pimp' the album around to labels to see who's interested in putting it out, so far I've asked Rollin Records U.K, Rhythm Bomb records Germany and El Toro Records in Spain, at the moment nobody has given me a concrete yes as the albums not finished yet so they havent heard the final 'cut' and wont do till Oct/Nov this year. Anyhow, if nobody wants it I will do it myself, ive had experience with releasing records and know the market well, so I wont hesitate in putting it out if nobody wants it. I had it before in the early 90s, i tried everybody to 'pimp' out the lp "Hey There Man" by Red Hot n Blue, NOBODY wanted it, I had Faith in it and put it out myself and sold 1000s of copies, and I'll do the same with this if I have too. One way or another, "Vigilante Man" WILL BE OUT by December 2010/January 2011 the latest! Probably on my own ZINN label.
Have you plans to tour to support it?
Im trying to persuade Jerry chat-a-box to let me do a pilot show with all the musicians on the album at next years Rock-a-billy Rave, but we will see, hes 'thinking on it' at the moment. You know what, in this world NOBODY shares your dreams, you HAVE to DO IT YOURSELF...and thats what I intend to do. Im not doing a solo show, but if it came to it, I would go out as a solo artist and do it. In 2011 im doing a one-year thing with The Domestic Bumblebees, they are backing me on a 1 year tour show doing all my old Red Hot n' Blue/Space Cadet songs as a showpeice thing. We played a show in Sweden a while back and other promoters have since asked us too do it at thier festivals, so thats what we will be doing for next year ONLY! Red Hot n Blue will never play again, so this is a great chance for me to do them songs again with a great band like the Bees backing me. I may sneak in a few songs from the new album too!!
Do you have something to add about it?
Im looking forward to the release of Vigilante Man, looking forward to 2011 and another year of rockin, looking forward to all the all-dayers and weekenders im all-raedy booked at as a DJ (which is very busy)..looking forward to doing shows with the Domestic Bumblebees for a year, looking forward to recording a brand new Space Cadet album next autumn, and then in 2012, looking forward to re-froming the Space Cadets for our first shows in two and a half years. we will have a busy 2012 for sure!!! So, still so much to do and much fun to have, you have to enjoy what you do more than anything. NEVER think its work, its always been fun for me, thats why i keep doing it year in and year out! KEEP IT REAL, KEEP IT FUN!!!
....thanks to you Fred and all the readers who took time to read this article, god bless you all.
Listen to tracks from the forthcoming album at Reverbnation and be sure to visit Mouse's Myspace and Facebook (Mousies record hop) pages.
Commented discography to come