"Just For The Record" is a brand new section at the RockUnited site where 'DJ Urban' has a look at some old(er) records/albums in the great history of hard rock and metal. It could be some "obscure" minor record label release that simply didn't get the attention it so rightly deserved the first time around. It could also be a what you would call a "classic" album or sort of a best-seller. They all have one thing in common though. They all ROCK and and they all have at least one classy enough band member to answer our q's.
BLACK ROSE: "Walk It How You Talk It"
BLACK ROSE (U.K.) and their second album, "Walk It How You Talk It", from the year of 1986 (Neat Records, U.S. release: K-Tel/1987). They started out as a typical NWOBHM act a few miles south of Newcastle in 1980 and folded during the very last months of the eighties. In between those years Black Rose managed to record some great songs and albums and a famous U.K. journalist even named them "third in line after Def Leppard and Heavy Pettin". There's actually several hardrock acts that goes under the banner of "Black Rose", including acts from Sweden and the states. FYI, the U.S. act was put together by Cher (yep!) and recorded one self-titled album in 1980. This is the "real deal" though! "Walk It How You Talk It" is a fun 50/50 mix of keyboard dominated rock and straight party hard rock. Also recommended if you're into the mid/late eighties sound of Y&T, Quiet Riot, Heavy Pettin, Winger, etc. The line-up consisted of the excellent Steve Bardsley (vocals), Pat O'Neill (guitars), Gary Todd (guitars/keys), Mick Thompson (bass) and Barry Youll (drums). And guess what? They've just finished recording a brand new album ready for release later this year. How about that? Great news!!! Let's talk some more about this fine 1986 platter though as it could certainly need another day in the spotlight (how about a proper CD reissue anyone?). Here to tell us everything about the Black Rose music of 1986, their excellent vocalist, STEVE BARDSLEY...
How long did this album take to make from start to finish, recording-wise?
We were on a very ( very ) limited budget so we had just 2 weeks to record the album in, we didn't have the luxury of being able to take months.
What kind of initial budget are we talking about here?
Hmmm....to be honest I'm not sure what the exact figure was but ....Not Fuckin' Much !! ...is a pretty good estimate LOL! It was recorded at Neat records own Impulse studios so it was the cost of paying the producer and engineer for a fortnights work.
How much of the budget did you actually spend on useless equipment and other nonsense?
Haha.....well I think you know that the answer to that is gonna be none.....cos there was none to spend on anything never mind useless stuff.
What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to entering the studio?
Well everybody at the time was listening to the ' big ' production sounds that were coming out by bands like Def Leppard, Ratt, AC/DC etc. so we wanted that kinda big sound too........but whether we would get it is another thing.
What kind of input did the producer have during the process?
When it came to the actual songs he (Keith Nichol) didn't really get involved too much apart from offering advice on certain things. Hey we were a young band with very little knowledge or expertise in producing records, we just wanted to play so we just let the guy do his thing
And were you pleased with the final outcome? (sound - production wise)
At the time I think we were yes considering the budget and everything, although listening back to it now if I'm honest I'm not entirely happy with the sound. I suppose we did kinda get a version of the big sound we were after, but the final mix was a muddy so it lost the dynamics and power we wanted.
Did the producer use any (weird) experimental miking and/or recording techniques?
Not weird as such but this was the first time we'd ever used samples so that was a bit of a novelty. Some of the kit was sampled form other famous drummers if I remember rightly the kick was from Eric Carr (Kiss) and the snare was Tony Thompson (Chic and Power Station).
How much time did you spend on overdubs?
As little as possible because of the time restraints so I suppose we got a much more 'live' kinda feel to our record cos we didn't have the time to over produce. Don't get me wrong we would have loved to have spent months in a studio doing the album and getting everything just right but unfortunately that was never a option for us....... cue the violins haha.
Which band member spent most of his days in the studio and why?
Hmmm..... probably myself cos the singing always took loads of time and we did quite a lot of vocal harmonies on this album.
Which band member hardly spent any time at all in the studio and why?
Well we were all in the studio every day and it was just a case of doing your bit then waiting for the rest of the lads to do theirs. Once all the music was recorded everybody got involved with the backing vocals, chants and stuff so again we were kept pretty busy cos there was hardly any time to spare.
Let's talk about the lyrics. Are you just as fond of them today or are they typical of its time?
Ha ha! yeah the lyrics were typical of the time I guess and I make no apologies for my lyrics cos I know most of it was a load of old bollocks LOL! .... No one else would write or could be arsed to write lyrics so it was pretty much left to me and I was never a very good lyricist so I just did my best to tell a story or something.
How did you go on about capturing your 'live sound', or perhaps you didn't?
Ah well that was very easy we just didn't have a load of money to spend and squeezed everything into 2 weeks !! .....hahaha
Did the record company interfere anything on your "sound" and "songs", considering what's 'hot and not' at the time?
Not at all they just let us do out thing.
Your favourite songs off the album and why?
Well I don't really have a favourite as such but I guess "Honestly Love You" is one that I think stands out cos it was catchy and commercial sounding but was still rocky...... at least I think it was.
Any 'oh-I-wish-we-had-never-recorded' song on this album?
No not really not on this album, on the previous record (Boys Will Be Boys) there was a couple I wished we'd either missed off or recorded differently, but no I think this album was a good all rounder.
Were there any other tracks recorded during those studio sessions that didn't make the cut?
Yeah there was a couple we were gonna do but just didn't have the time to include them so they are consigned to demo tape.
What's your honest opinion about the songs and the production today? Dated, fresh, a mess?
Unfortunately yes the sound is a bit dated but not a mess I wouldn't say. Man I bet if they were recorded today using all the modern studio techniques they would sound Megga !!
Are there any 'crazy' behind the scenes anecdotes from these sessions that you can share with us?
Apart from when Chris was gonna knock Mick out over an argument about a bass line..... yeah how fuckin' stupid was that LOL!
Were you ever a "priority" case or merely just another release at your record label?
No we were never a priority case really, Neat had Venom, Raven, Blitzkrieg and The Tygers Of Pang Tang all above us in the pecking order.
Did you ever feel like the record label supported you guys enough afterwards? (promotion-wise, tours, etc.).
Not as much as they did the bands I've just mentioned and to be honest these guys were doing a lot better than us at the time so you can understand why they got priority. They did sort out the American deal with K-Tel (man that still sounds so funny) and we were gonna go to the States to promote the album until all that bullshit happened with the other band from the states with the same name.
Any regrets whatsoever? (regarding the album of course)
No regrets that we could have done anything about but I still wonder what might have happened if we'd gone to the USA as planned and toured promoting the album...... who knows what may have happened. I'll always hate that piss pot band from America (who never did anything as far as I am aware) for fuckin' up our big chance to go and tour the US.
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, or promote, please do:
Yeah man we have just about finished recording a new album and it should be out later this year, we're still sorting out the details but please go to our myspace site for a listen to some clips (see link at the right top border of this page).
Interview by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,