Frontiers recording artist Baileys Comet delivered a great album last year that was received well by both the fans and the critics (see our archives for a review and our interviews for a follow-up talk after the release with the Bailey brothers). Then the band missed out on touring last year due to their vocalist being unwilling to fulfill touring commitments. Here's what the Baileys had to say about it:

"We were all disappointed that we couldn't go out on the road last year and follow up on the great response to the album. Shit happens and at the end of the day you have to move on. We set out with a definite line up in mind right back from the demo stages. It soon became apparent that loyalty doesn't always work out both ways. We are no longer prepared to carry surplice baggage it ends up costing you time and money. The nucleus of the band will remain but we will be keeping the door of opportunity open for dedicated musicians who want to rock and not wash dishes."

Meanwhile Dez Bailey was offered an endorsement by Maverick Guitars (see the photo) but we are here to break the real news for you: legendary rock frontman, ex Black Sabbath vocalist, TONY MARTIN will be fronting the band on their forthcoming European tour. The tour is scheduled for April/May 2002, titled the Day of Judgement Tour. The Baileys comment:

"Tony Martin is a class act and it makes you stop and wander what the album could have ended up like with his sort on vocals? The initial rehearsals went great he likes the music and the vibe. It's been cool to hang out together. The live shows should be great with Tony playing fiddle live for the first time and his songs interspersed with the majority of the Judgement Day album. We are pretty up beat about the he first BAILEY/MARTIN song and so there may be a few surprises in store on the tour. We are just going out to play the music to the fans it's them that we want to hear the material. None of us want to look too far ahead but if we enjoy this venture together then we see no reason why BAILEY and MARTIN shouldn't work together again. We are already talking about live albums, and hooking up again and we haven't hit the road yet so let's take it one stage at a time."

We caught Tony Martin in the preparation phase for the tour for an interview to hear what he has to say about the whole Baileys Comet gig and of course some other things too. Here it is for your pleasure:

Bandi: Even though critics and fan responses were very positive about the album, Baileys Comet is far from being a house-hold name in the world of melodic rock yet. What made you accept the offer then?

Tony: Dez is a good shag! (joke) And makes wicked bacon sarnies! And then there's the small matter of me getting divorced and deciding to restart my career. I should never have stopped really, when the Sabbath gig fell apart I shoulda kept goin', but I was disillusioned and pissed off and had a family and things Y'know!

Bandi: So you say you feel playing live again would be like a revitalization for you? Didn't those studio projects you were working on recently have this effect on you? By the way would you tell us some more about them? What's the story behind The Cage and the Bobby Rondinelli albums?

Tony: Yeah, sort of revitalization. More like "am I still up to it…… " and then finding out I might still be! Sort of reassurance rather than revitalization. The Cage thing is a project that I got involved in while I was recording in Italy. Great guitarist, Dario Mollo is the driving force behind it. I just like working with him. He has great tunes. I hope I do them justice. The Rondinelli album is a really cool collection of tracks that I sang on in New York. I love what Bobby is doing with them, again I hope I do them justice. I wanted to repay Bobby for playing at the Cozy Powell memorial show with me and also I'm a big admirer of Bobby's playing. He does things with a drum kit that should have a health warning attached (musically that is.)

Bandi: What do you expect from the collaboration with the Baileys?

Tony: Not much, just a couple of million quid and a new pair of shoes!

Bandi: Well, having seen an old photo of Mick & Dez matching shoes with Gene Simmons if I were you I wouldn't expect much! (see the photo on the right too!) hahaha What if you get your new pair of Nike in three months? Are you gonna join the brothers for good then?

Tony: No, I love the brothers, but I really want to do something else with music. I'm gradually finding my feet again and slowly I can see a new style appearing but it's still surrounded in a mist…… mainly cause of the whisky……. If I can clear the fog away, there could be something really good there. Or it might be a load of bollocks. Won't know until I try and I can't do that by being a full time member of a band.

Bandi: Dez (Bailey) mentioned you guys are about to play some songs from your solo record. Are you thrilled to take those songs on stage again?

Tony: Don't know about thrilled ... mildly orgasmic would be a better description. Certainly gonna be interesting to have that stuff in a set with the brothers material I told them to give up years ago but they just keeps goin'.

Bandi: What was the last time you played your own songs live?

Tony: Cozy Powell's tour, bless his soul. We did them then. Bit different though 'cause I had no real backing vocals and used samples to back it up, this time the brothers are gobbin' on it.

Bandi: How much time have you got to get ready for the gigs? Do you need any special preparation?

Tony: Yeah lots, I still haven' got my voice where it needs to be. Stress from personal shit isn't helping me at all and I hope I can rise above it to pull it off, but just in case I don't I'd like to publicly apologize in advance, please don't throw any bottles at me.

Bandi: "Back Where I Belong" was a fine piece of an AOR album, yet it went almost unnoticed for the public and only some die hard collectors (including the majority of the AOR-Europe crew) own it. Why do you think it failed to break through to a wider audience?

Tony: 'Cause nobody liked it!

Bandi: Aren't you afraid Baileys Comet is about to face the same destiny your solo record did?

Tony: Yup! That's why were out tryin' to promote the fuckin' thing!

Bandi: Now that you have worked with many of the big names in rock, is there still some left you'd like to work with? Malmsteen maybe? :)

Tony: God no!!!!! I had several calls from Yngwie some years ago but to be honest it really isn't my thing. Good player though.

Bandi: What is your thing then? How is the Baileys Comet gig different from an Yngwie offer ? Besides the obvious bacon sarnies thing of course…

Tony: Just an opportunity to get back out there with some friends and have a laugh hopefully. Gotta start somewhere, the brothers are just the right people to do it with right now that's all.

Bandi: What's your fave album you've been involved in creating?

Tony: Dez O'conner's greatest hits. And Tyr and Headless Cross and Cross Purposes and The Cage and Back where I belong.

Bandi: It's a general agreement within the crew of AOR-Europe that "Tyr" and "Headless Cross" were probably the best ever Black Sabbath records. Why didn't it work out with the band?

Tony: Because lots of people started fuckin' about with it. It was originally thought that the band wasn't progressing fast or far enough so they tried to get other directions instead of running with what we were doin'. Plus Cozy was a big influence and he wasn't there after for a while. Plus I felt like we were having problems pulling it off live. And of course Ozzy and Sharon was waiting in the wings ready to pull them off.

Bandi: Do I sense a touch of being pissed off at them here?

Tony: I was pissed off at having put so much effort into it and then lost it, not at them. A bit like being married really!!!!!!!!

Bandi: Did you get wiser after all these various band efforts we have already mentioned? What can the Baileys learn from you? (Hey! Make sure to teach naughty Dez some manners! hahaha. The guys at Frontiers will love you for doing so...)

Tony: Don't get married, don't step into other people's shoes, or at least if you step in don't wear them for long! If people don't like you carry on anyway. And how to sing!

Bandi: Thanx for taking the time and answering our questions. We wish you a new pair of whatever you prefer for the tour! (Hey! What's your size? Just in case I needed someone to sing my new songs live…)

Interview by Endre "Bandi" Hübner