TUESDAY, JUNE 1st, 22:25 (CET): I just arrived home from work, relaxing a bit and changing the chip since from now on I'm on well earned holidays. Then, suddenly, the telephone rings and, oh surprise! (well, not really) it's Mickey Thomas (of STARSHIP fame) calling from Lake Tahoe, Nevada... Well I wish I was there, he wishes he'd be here in Madrid and all that stuff, so enough ramblings and let's put things a little bit OVER THE EDGE...
It's been a while since the good old Starship days till Over The Edge. What have you been doing?
I've been there, I've been touring a lot, performing live. You know, back in the mid 90's I reformed a new version of Starship with all new guys, and we've been playing a lot. I do about 75 shows a year, and you know we're coming up to a busy time now, we do a lot of shows during the summer, a lot of fairs and festivals and shows, you know. I've been staying busy and performing live and also doing a few recording projects here and there but nothing that turned out so good as the Over The Edge project.
How came the idea of the Over The Edge project?
Well, you know I signed with Frontiers Records, a solo deal, and when it came to a solo album I was kind of more interested in doing something that would be a little more modern, and you know Frontiers Records are well known for their 80's melodic rock. So they wanted me to do something more like the 80's Starship stuff but with modern production values. So, we just sort of compromised and decided that instead of a solo project we'd make it a special project CD "Over The Edge featuring Mickey Thomas". So it really is a solo record, but that's a solo record of me kind of performing the stuff that I was more known for in the 80's rather than something that I would be starting out something very new right now, that would be more modern. It was a compromise.
Have you already worked with any of the artists/songwriters involved or even met them before?
Yeah. Part of the reason why we were able to get such great solo artists and great players on the album is that I've known them. I've known Neal Schon for many many years, and Steve Lukather, I met him 20 years ago. Jack Blades is a very close friend of mine, you know, we toured together many times. So, I've just been able to kind of establish friendship with these guys over the years and when it came time for this album they were so kind as to contribute with songs and performances. So yes, I've known most of the guys for a long time.
It caught my eye that, among all the classic names involved on the record, you recorded a cover of "Thief" by a Swedish pop rock artist namely Martin Stenmarck. Why did you choose this particular track?
When we were first collecting songs for this project, that was just a song that was submited to me by Serafino Perugino, from Frontiers Records, and I don't know, I just really liked the song. It was something that I could interprete in a long, different way, kind of put my own sound to it and it would work. I think it's one of the songs I selected originally when we were leaning towards more of a modern edge of the album, and making it more of a solo album, but that one turned out so well that we thought it fitted the concept of the Over The Edge as well so we kept it on the record.
Do you feel that if you record another album, this time a Mickey Thomas solo album, it would have the same kind of feeling like this song?
Yeah, I think so. I think it would be more towards that. And then even a little more modern or maybe experimental like... I love Radiohead and all that kind of stuff, you know. I might be more inclined to go with... like some of my favourite artists are people like Peter Gabriel and David Bowie and all that kind of stuff so I'd be probably more inclined to take it more towards that side of things.
Now you mention it, what are your present influences, as opposed to background, lifetime influences?
Coldplay is good, I like where they're going, I like Collective Soul... I really like The Darkness [laughs on both sides of the line]. I don't know I just like all kind of new modern stuff.
One of my favourite songs on the album is "Cover Me", by (at least for me) unknown B. Norman. Tell us a bit about this song and his author.
Well, all I can answer is that I just really like that song a lot. I thought it was... generally speaking soemtimes I like songs that could be interpreted on many levels. As for "Cover Me" it could be a love song for a lover, or it could be more of a spiritual pledge or you know, you could take it in more than one way, and that's what I like about that one.
And what can you tell us about B. Norman?
The guy who did "Cover Me"?
Well, you know that's one I really don't know about. Once again that song was one of those that was sent to me by Serafino. You know he sent me several songs and that was one of the ones that was recorded for me. And that's all I know about the artist.
Why didn't you tried to write your own songs? This one is almost already answered but...
I don't write very much in general. I don't really like to write. And when I write songs, the quality of them usually doesn't measure up to the standards that I wanna do on a CD or a song I really want to record. So for me I'm very confortable with leaving the songwriting to people who do it very well and then I just like to take the songs that I like and then interprete them in my own way.
Is it hard for you to get involved in a project where pretty much all is somehow prefab and all you have to do is record your vocals?
No. You know, I mean, I'm okay doing that, and I'm also fine with going in from scratch and being involved in the recording of the tracks and all of the overdubs and everything. You know on this record that you would give me, I would get together with the producer, and we'd select together the songs that I would do and then we'd figure out the right key you know that would be confortable for my voice and then maybe I'd go away and they would record the tracks and then I'd come back every now and then and do like we'd do all the vocals in two or three songs and we would select two or three more songs to do and then I would go away and come back. But you know, I've done it in so many different ways and I enjoy all different kind of processes of making music, it's always exciting.
But this time they sent you the tapes with all the stuff recorded and all you had to do was put your vocals or was it done some other way?
Well, it was kind of different for each song. Some songs I just put on the vocals after everything was done and some other songs I put the vocals on and there was still a lot of music left to be recorded on it. so you know it was no one particular way really.
Tell us a bit about the Starship days. One can easily imagine what you can miss from that period, but is there something you have now that you didn't have back on the days (besides more years, that is)?
Yeah, well what I have now, what I'm excited about and what is so much better these days is having a band like I have now very very talented Starship band. It's the best group of guys I've ever played with as far as musicianship and the way we all get along as friends and complement each other. So it's a lot easier to get along these days. Back in the old days of Starship we had so many strong personalities and so many people that all had kind of a different idea about what the band should be musically, you know, the musical direction, that there were a lot of conflicts, and now there's no more conflicts, just a great group of guys, great musicians and I guess I'm just more in control of my own destiny you know, musically and how much I want to go out and play and when and where I wanna go, so it feels very confortable now so I'm really enjoying the live performances far more than I ever had in any other point in my life, so it's much fun to go onstage now.
I didn't notice you still have the Starship thing going on...
Oh yeah. As a matter of fact I hope that we do have a chance to go to Europe and perform live there.
That would be great!
Well yeah cause we'd like to come and do some of the new Over The Edge stuff and if I'd do that I'll do it with the Starship band so that way we could also present all the classic Starship music as well.
That would be fine. Keep us updated on that!
I'd love it!
If you could change just a single thing on this album, what would that be?
see... I would probably... I would probably make "my eyes wide
open" a little bit faster. I think the tempo is a little bit slow
on that one.
Yeah, I agree with you somehow.
Not too much just a little bit faster I think.
I love the album, I think it's great, but I somehow miss a little bit a couple of uptempo rockers, some of those instant hits. I mean, being an 80's melodic rock oriented album, I miss a bit that kind of stuff, you know?
next time we'll put a couple of more harder edged ones on there, you
Any plans to do more albums?
We're already collecting songs for the next one.
Will it be a Mickey Thomas album or Starship or Over The Edge?
know yet. I'd like to do one of each! I'd like to do an Over The Edge
album and a Mickey Thomas album and a Starship one as well. So maybe
we'd get them all within the next year.
What's your favourite track on the record?
That's why you decided to include a video of it on the CD?
I don't know it just seems to me like an overall...when it's all said
and done it comes to me as the best song on the album as far as lyrics,
and the way it's writen, the melody, the production, the way the song
fits my voice. You know, all the pieces came together on that one.
We're pretty much done. Anything else you'd like to add?
like to say again that I hope we get a chance to come and see you face
to face in presence and perform live on stage for you sometime in the
very near future. I miss you all very much and it's been a long time
since I've been able to perform there, so I'm very looking forward to
Did you ever play in Spain?
Then you should come!
Ok, Mickey, thanks a lot for your time and I hope to hear from you again and let's keep our finger crossed that the European tour come true!
I will, Jorge!
by Jorge Antonaya