Killer Bee interview
| Killer Bee as a band have Canadian and Swedish blood running thru their veins.
Leadsinger Brian Frank gave Melodic some cool answers about the ins and outs of this awesome hardrock band.
Also Brian gives an insight in how they were formed and off course talks about their latest album.
Killer Bee Is ready for their next chapter.
|ho are your favorite bands, past and present?
As a youth in the late 60´s early 70´s, my main favorites date back to that era of rock when there were few guidelines and rules, meaning many new genres to explore. I would have to say that my absolute favorite artists from the past are David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Aerosmith and of course Zeppelin primarily due to thier role in the developement of rock at that time. In the present times it is so hard to say because things change so fast, but if I had to choose I guess I would have to say that I really do not have any real favorites anymore. It is more a favorite quality of artist at that has to be sincerity and an individual characterism
Can you tell us anything about your background, when and where did you start performing?
My background as an “artist” all started around 68 in Toronto Canada. Together with some classmate we had started a band (haha) in grade 5 and played early Guess Who songs. It was of course not good at all but it peaked my curriosity. I remember my parents buying me a Sears catologue guitar and amp when I was 13. Well I didn´t play guitar and was more interested in frontmen like Rod Stewart, Robert Plant, Cooper. That old school singer frontman style was my love so I sold the guitar and bought a cheap Shure microphone. I used the amp as a monitor and started singing along to albums in my folks basement (to much pounding on the floor above to turn it down).
At 17 I answered an ad for a singer, this was Mike Miller and Rick Nemes. They had three original songs and a conviction to hard rock and writing music. The goal was to be all original all the time. The three of us hit it off and Rapid Tears was born. We recorded a single in 1980 and went on to record a couple records up until 84.
I started actuall performing in different bands from the age of 15 in Toronto but Rapid Tears was the experience that helped me find my style and gave me the desire to write and create.
Which singer do you consider as being you main influence and why?
I guess I woul have to say David Bowie and that is because of his diversity. I like to experiment vocally and a role model like Bowie is a perfect example as to the breaking down of limitations.
Which song by another artist would you have loved to have written yourself?
One of my all time favorite songs is “I´d Love to Change the World” by Ten Years After. A true statement to the times and a tremendous impact on me. I would have loved to have written that song. Since I did not, it was decided to re-record it with a slightly different instrumental arrangement. Killer Bee recorded that song on our third album “World Order Revolutution” in 97. Earlier this year we released a video to the song. Yeah that´s the one.
Pick three albums that you would take to a deserted island?
Hmmm. That´s a tough one. In Rock “Deep Purple”, Aladin Sane “David Bowie” and Forms and Fellings “Love Sculpture”. These three records give a diverse styling but also something to stimulate thought and inner debate.
Can you describe the importance of music in your life?
Music has always been a part of all of our lives. It on a daily basis music carries us through when all else seems like it is falling apart.
That one main stay in my life is my ability to sing,write and produce music. It is an outlet that calms me. I often say that music saved me from alife of pain. Meaning that my attempts at sports always left me injured HaHa.
It is a love and a need a sort of escape if you will. I don´t know if my works touch anyone else but at the times of creating and developement music and singing has often been that thing that has saved me!
What would you have done with your life when you would not have become a rocksinger?
Well another tough one. I do not know so much more than that but I do know that I want to make people hapy. During the break in Killer Bee´s story I started an interior decorating business and found great reward in helping give people a new found feeling lifes quality through my designs... so maybe that.
What's the strongest memory of your career so far?
There are many strong images in my memories but I think the strongest was a time in Russia when we were playing Red Square and the military presence that was a barrier betwen the stage and the public. A double row of shoulder to shoulder soldiers that were I assume there to keep people from geting out of hand. This was in 92 and recall the organiser coming to me before taking the stage and informing me that he did not want us to get the people crazy. There must be order... Hmmm an orderly rock Concert... thats a first
Between 1997 and 2011 there were no releases, can you tell us what happened back then, causing the band to have such a long sleep?
Well it was a typical music industry cliche. We got taken by one of the few in the biz that are not completely honest. It happened with a PR guy in Switzerland. We were on our way up when out of the blue it was brought to our attention that the company we were working with had been conning our supporters out of money. It went as deep as our label, agents and clubs had lost a lot of money because of him. We as the persons we are took on some loans and attempted to make ammends. The bottom line is that the pressure and dissalusionment of the situation made Anders and I take a look at things. We decided that a pause was in order. Unfortunately that pause lasted 12 years.
What eventually woke the band up?
It was Anders Rönnblom my partner and co founder in the Killer Bee since the start that brought us back to life.. He felt that the attention given Killer Bee in the 90´s was overshadowed by events that took place. We got together and decided to compile a selection of songs from those first three records and test the market. The result was “Almost There”. This record stimulated a flood of response from old and new fans showing us that we were not forgotten. We got our drummer from the 90´s Morgan Evan´s back, took in a couple of local Swedish musicians, did a couple of gigs and as you would expect. It was all there.
Which goals in life did you achieve and which ones do you have left?
I believe that my destiny is still playing out. Sure I have had the luxury of being able to do life as I saw it and sometimes it has given the right results. As far as reaching a goal. I guess my only true goal in life is to be happy and to date I am generally that. We all have our ups and downs but to keep getting back up is a goal that we all should have.
Do you have an important topic which you need to share through your music?
My only true topic is that one must keep the faith and never say never. The road is hard but you can´t win without a loss. Now there is a lot of clichés. Honestly... we all have it rough and if we just take some time and look around we can maybe see the possibilities that lie in front of us.
What is your perspective about the music climate today?
In a world dominated by the net and social media, the music climate is a very vulnerable area. So many new bands both good and bad arise daily, flooding the markets. Record companies look at things differently than in the 70´s / 80´s. Fans have a chance to pick and choose faster. Sometimes all of these elements together create a volatile environment. I mean whatever happened to the days of putting on a record and playing the s__t out of it. Learning to know a band before your accept or discard them. It´s too fast. I can´t see the same lasting power in bands compared to the times that brought us ands like Aerosmith, The Stones etc.
For those that are not yet very familliar with the band Killer Bee.
Can you tell us how the band was formed?
Anders and I met in Toronto in 1985 during a trip he was on to Canada. I ended up doing som recording with his band Firewind there. We kept in contact and after some years we decided that I should make the move to Sweden. I did so in 1990 and we have been together ever since.Members have come and gone over the years but somehow we have managed to keep it together.
How do you describe Killer Bee's style within the rock scene?
I think this question is one that you readers should answer themselves. How do they describe us in todays rock scene. Purely based on style though i Would say that over the years we have really stuck to our guns in writing and production styles. Music styles change flow but we have always tryed to be true to ourselves and hope that it´s honesty is appreciated
Can you tell us something about the different characters in the band?
Anders LA Rönnblom ... my Partner...(Bass, Guitar, Piano) He is a determined force of nature thanks to him has this band survived. His die hard approach to things have lifted us when things seemed down.
Denny DeMarchi (Organ, Keys) A quiet humble man who has the skills to deliver and the good sense to let you find out for yourself... “It´s all good”
André Hägglund (Guitar) a young blood who definately has the world at his feet. He has been with us for a couple of years now and has met every challenge head on with conviction.
Christoffer Sjöström (guitar) He is new to us only in for a short while yet but what I know of him he is a new guitar heroe on the up and coming
Shawn Duncan (Drums) Time will tell about Shawn He has come to us very recently. I feel strongly that this will be a power hitting team that Shawn will round off with finese.
Is anyone supersticious, or having unusual habits?’
Naaa! We are all pretty normal guys.
Can you tell us about the recording process Killer Bee feels comfortable with?
The Process... It all starts with those signature guitar riffs, piano melodies and grooves created by the master Andrs “LA” Rönnblom. He brings to me his creations and we work up a melody for vocals etc. Often there are things that are pre destined to be there like a particular guitar harmony or a destinct chorus line that he has thought through. From there we start the recording. Because the band is spread out internationally our recording process to date happens in stages. Anders and I will start by laying down the guitars, pianos and beds (played by Anders). After that I will work in my studio on the vocals. This will generally give us a good guideline as to a direction. From this pre production we the proceed to send the material to the rest of the band. Once we feel it´s ready we enter the studio and start the record. On all of our records Anders has guitar tracks, bass tracks, piano trcks. These are joined by our guitarist André, Pianist, Organist Denny. Again as said due to the geography of the band often I will travel to various cities and work with the individuals to get our tracking. Mixing to date has always been done in Toronto. So as you can hear it is a complex international recording process.
Is there something like a general theme on the new album?
The album is entitled Eye In The Sky and as the title implies it deals loosely with Big Brother. The theme is not applicable to all the songs but I am sure the listeners can compile for themselves a viable concept.
Can you describe if it is difficult creating an album and still being able to be original and yet also recognizable?
For me creating an album is not always about the result, it is the journey. As far as the originality and recognisability, I firmly believe that as long as you play and work with sincerity your listeners will hear that.
As a band that has it´s roots firmliy planted I do feel that our background compared to a lot of the newer bands is something that has enabled us to step outside the box.
What is your favorite song on the album and why?
My favorite song if any would have to be “One Step Closer”. As the person who works with the songs through to the end of production, I hear everything so often sometimes it is tough to have a distance. This song always seems to give me space.
How would you describe the new release compared to former releases?
I do feel that this record is a definite culmination of the past two records It feels like a coming of age after our break. The first two were the journey through uncharted territory but on this record we have taken more time and patience this has let me personally look at the record from different angles and see where it might land. Production wise. Feels good.
What are the touring plans to support the album?
2017 is starting off ok January we will visit LA for a week, Then back to Sweden for a month efter which we will hit the UK in March for 15 shows. Then April has a few speculations. The summer is starting to shape up but too early to release details.
How exited are you to finally bring these songs to the stage?
It´s always exciting to bring our new music to the public. Of course we approach all shows as a new adventure. There are always new fans to appreciate. We love it.
Best personal tour memory so far?
So many! There are always things that happen out of the ordinary. Things that get ya going. I guess for me on our 2015 tour I was met by some fans from my past that had memoribilia from the early eighties. Records, ticket stubs, books etc form my days in Toronto. Some of these things I don´t even have. That was wrming.
What's the best and worst being on tour?
Well obviously the best is playing, tavelling and meeting a huge array of new people. The worst is probably the fact that after visiting so many cities worldwide I never have had a chance to take in each ones beauty due to the fact that we are off to a new town next day.
Can you tell how it feels being on stage?
If you take the thing that you love the most. The thing that makes you the happiest Now multiply it by 1000+ thats it.
Is there any special preparation you always do just before hitting the stage?
No not really. It´s just a get going feeling that gets over you and you gotta go man.
Funniest thing which ever happened to you and/or the band during a show?
If I take myself as an example I guess when I think about I must go back to Russia again. We were playing Olympic Stadium in Moscow. The scene was huge 100 feet across with a first class runway out into the pulic. The stage form had different levels on it, so I was running across the stage and jumped down to the lower level. When I landed.... what a surprise....
my leg went right through the stage floor. The builders had built the stage out of particle board and there I was one leg through the floor up to my crotch... We kept on rockin...!
Did you know that?
Journey thought of naming their Raised on Radio album to Freedom, Herbie Herbert said they had all the titles lined up from Infinity, Evolution, Departure, Captured, Escape, Frontiers and Freedom. But the band changed their minds and decided on Raised on Radio!