If last year's "comeback" from House Of Lords was a bit of a disappointment to many, I'm pretty sure that most of us HOL fans will agree that the new album "World Upside Down" is a great addition to the HOL legacy! We spoke with James Christian, the vocalist of the band...
1. It seemed like that Gregg Giuffria's departure from the HOL prior to the release "The Power And The Myth" caused a bit of friction between the rest of the band and him. Now he's involved in the new album again - how did you manage to get him to join you?
JC: Well, after the "Power & Myth" CD, I had decided I wanted to do a CD that was more traditional to the sound of House Of Lords. This was not something that could happen with the original line-up and through the years there have been a lot of different musical tastes for each member. The one person I wanted to work on this record was Gregg, so I played him one of the songs I had recorded, and he loved it. He did tell me that he could not devote the amount of time he would like because of the Hard Rock casino that he was opening in Mississippi. A hurricane tore down that building before it even opened. That made it even more difficult for him to be there all the time. But we got what we needed from him. And I am totally delighted with this CD. I feel it is one of the best HOL CD we have ever done.
2. Some people have said that the band should not be called House Of Lords, because you're the only original member. How do you react to that?
JC: Well considering that Gregg & I are the only members that have appeared on every single HOL CD, I feel I am entitled to use the name that I worked so hard for all these years. I am extremely proud of this Band sound. I would not want to call it anything else. I would not be the first person to carry on with a band name and not have the original members. And finally, Gregg is a part of this CD and basically the same arrangement as the "Demons Down" record. No-one seemed to think we need a name change then and I do not think the majority of the fan base will think we need one now.
3. Did the rest of the "The Power" line-up have a problem in you using the HOL band name again? It seemed like that their interest in returning to the classic style wasn't there...
JC: Their interest was in continuing but with a different sound. My heart is in Melodic Rock music, it is what I grew up listing to and what I know how to do best. I could never have made this record this way with the "Power line-up. Not because they could not play it, but because their hearts would not be in it.
4. Let's get back to Gregg Giuffria, the "featuring the keyboard productions of Gregg Giuffria" credit couldn't be any more elusive...what did he actually do on the album?
JC: Gregg's involvement was with everything pertaining to Keyboards on this CD. His hand is in the arrangements of the Keys as well as the sound and placement. It is a part of House Of Lords sound that Gregg knows so well.
5. How would you encourage those fans to buy the new album who were disappointed with the comeback album?
JC: Sometimes it is hard to win back fans when they feel you have deserted them for another style of music. All I can say to them is the take a listen to the snippets on MelodicRock.Com etc. They will hear from the first note that this is truly a traditional HOL record with all the Bells & Whistles.
6. My promo copy doesn't include the songwriters, so could you possibly tell us who wrote these songs and whether they were all written for this project?
JC: This album was written by James Christian, Jeff Kent and Jimi Bell. There are a few songs that I also wrote with an Australian writer, Chris Pelcer. This CD was written from scratch specifically for this project. It was written by the band and that is what gives it such a fresh and powerful feel. The band played the tracks in the same room at the same time. You can't beat a live sounding track. The band right now is on fire and they want to continue with the House Of Lords name as much as i do.
7. You've already lined up at least one festival appearance in Europe. Can we expect more gigs? Needless to say that if you guys were to come to Finland, I'd be there in the audience...
JC: There aremany more shows coming up. Please go to my website which is also the House Of Lords website at www.jameschristianmusic.com There will always be update on the site and an itinerary for upcoming shows in Europe and in the States.
8. Let's talk about "Meet The Man", your latest solo album. Now that it's been some time since it was released, what do you think about it? I thought it was a fantastic album with some great songs...
JC: I was very proud of "Meet The Man” it gave me a chance to re-record some of my favorite songs which I did as demos many years ago.
9. Same with the new one, I only have a promo copy of "Meet The Man", and it doesn't have any info on songwriters. Can you tell me from where do these songs originate?
JC: The songs on "Meet The Man" come from various writers, Stan Bush, Judithe Randall, Chuck Wright, Lanny Cordola and a few that I wrote.
9. How would you comment on this remark made by one of my collaborators here at RockUnited.Com: your best songs are the ones written for the second Alias album?
JC: Well, I can’t' remember what songs they recorded. But I know that Mark Baker and I wrote quite a few songs at that time. I am pretty sure there were some good ones. I would tell your collaborator to listen to "World Upside Down". They are someof the best songs I have ever been a part of.
10. Your wife, the highly talented Robin Beck is in "the biz" as well, and you've worked together on some releases. Are you planning on working together in the future as well? A HOL/Robin Beck tour doesn't sound too bad at all!
JC: No, sounds good to me, right now Robin is experiencing a re-release of "First Time" which was recorded as a dance single with a duo call "SunBlock". Right now it is set to enter the UK chart in the top 10. She is very excited about this and is really concentrating on the promotion for Universal Music. She is preparing to perform on "Top Of The Pops', she tapes the show in May 2006.
Interview by Kimmo Toivonen, special thanks to Bandi.