Q & A with Rick Lees

25 Jan

Almost two weeks ago, I discussed the whole concept of silly journalists describing that ROCK IS DEAD (my absence has been due to exams and not the more likely theory that I’ve had a Playstation-related death). Ahhhh it is doomsday folks because Rock is dead! I don’t remember Diana getting this much of journalists’ attention.

This week I thought that I’d produce another person’s perspective on this ghastly and blown out of proportion topic. I asked a certain Rick Lees on the subject and also some other questions on what’s gone on for him since his days of Twisted Wheel (the band not the former Manchester nightclub).
How’s life been like for you since you left Twisted Wheel?
Yeah life has been good since I left the band; it’s interesting really as being in a band never felt like a job even though we were away from home most of the time.Was it a personal choice for your departure, because I’ve researched it a bit and can’t really find a sustainable reason for it?

It was a personal choice to leave the band, there are many different reasons but here’s the main one; because of the turn in the industry, less and less people buying music, it has become increasingly difficult for bands to make as much money as they used to. From the outside looking in you would have no idea that bands who even have number 1 albums don’t even recoup their advances with record labels. So the band wasn’t paying enough for me to justify carrying on, and being 25 years old and hoping to get a mortgage and all the other grown up things, there was no future in it for me. It was either jump ship and get a stable job or hang on and hope for the best. It’s a shame, I know so many people who are or were in a similar situation in their bands.

Is being on stage a nervous thing or something you just crave to do?
Being on stage can sometimes be very different, once you’ve toured all over the world and done so many gigs, being nervous on stage doesn’t really crossyour mind. You’re just there playing your tunes and getting on with it. Some of the funniest things I’ve ever seen have happened on stage, people falling over and things going wrong, it’s just part of playing live.
With regards to music on a whole, who are your main influences and why?
Influences is a tough question, I could literally go on all day about this! The more music I hear the more I want to discover, it began when I was about 9 listening to Oasis, then I went back in time to The Beatles, Kinks, Led Zeppelin etc. I honestly think that The Beatles are the ultimate band though, nobody else could ever (especially with the industry as it is now) come close to creating such a good body of work. They pretty much led the way for every single band there has been. And anyone who says they don’t like The Beatles, you’ve just not heard enough!
Killer question, would you say Rock music is dead like a lot of tacky journalists have stated?
I wouldn’t say any particular genre of music is dead; journalists like to say these things to cause a stir and be controversial. It is just trends coming in and going out again, look at all the guitar music from the 60s & 70s then electro in the 80’s and back to guitar music in the 90s. The one problem as I mentioned before is the lack of money going into the industry which is causing problems and making it much tougher for new bands, hence all the old bands like Blur, Shed Seven, Pulp reforming.

What would you say is your perception on the way music is at this present time?
At the present time music is struggling, the entire industry spent a few years pretending the internet didn’t exist and is now playing catch up trying to work out ways of generating more album sales. Imagine if iTunes had been invented before Napster, and Napster never actually happened. It would be a very very different story and musicians would be in a much more favourable position. Only a couple of new bands really breakthrough every year, and they’re the ones with the most money thrown at them, and what the public don’t realise then is that the band are digging a deeper and deeper hole for themselves, they can’t generate the sales to pay back the record label.

Is Manchester simply the place to be to find real musical talent?
I do feel proud to be from Manchester in regards to its musical heritage, but the press tend to spend too much time talking about the great bands that have been and gone. Because most of the industries are based in London, they seem to think that anyone in a guitar band from Manchester wants to be Oasis and anyone in a dance band wants to be New Order. Once a few bands from one area start doing well it seems to inspire others to do the same.
Danny Mahon
What plans have you for future, obviously doing DJ-ing and radio shows is a priority, but any future plans?
I’ve got a couple of new music projects on the way; I’m playing bass with a singer songwriter called Danny Mahon who is from Manchester. His album is due this summer so keep an eye out for that one. I’ve been working hard on a load of my own tunes that I never had chance to do with Twisted Wheel, but they’re a long way off being ready yet, I can’t say too much about it until it’s all ready.
By Chris Martin
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