Today's RapidFire victim is Tony Mills, this time representing, well, himself of course but also the band STATE OF ROCK. You may know him as the lead singer of Shy and/or TNT, not to mention bands like Serpentine, Siam and China Blue. Yep, he doesn't shy away from work... Both State Of Rock and Serpentine albums have been reviewed on our site recently. If we're really lazy, we'll re-run this interview next week, with only the name of the band changed to Serpentine... No no no! We wouldn't do that! Okay, enough of my babbling...

Hi Tony… How you doing? Why are we talking to you today mate?

“Really good, Alan, thanks!! That’s right…! The State Of Rock album “A Point Of Destiny” is on its current release schedule throughout Japan and Europe, through AOR / Metal Heaven Records in Munich. And I’m currently doing interviews for that… Then, the other project I have been involved with, of late, is Serpentine… Their album “A Touch Of Heaven” is being released through the same label in Europe at the end of March, whilst Marquee Inc., have released it in Japan.”

How has the reaction to the State Of Rock album been?

“Oddly enough, better in some territories than I expected – here has been really strong - and not so well in countries where I expected it would be.”

How did the band get its name?

“Well, Georg Siegl from AOR / Metal Heaven developed this from his ideas with regard to Frontline and Shy basically…. He considered it a great name for a mainstream, melodic / hard rock album which suited its genre well. I think he was pretty spot on!”

What's the best (for you) album you have sung on within the last 5 years?

“This one!”

Do you ever worry you are over exposing yourself vocally?

“Not really, it may seem from the outside that I am all over the place, but actually, I only really work with a handful of people. I only perform in one or two countries, although I work a lot in studios for different artists on various projects. I’ve only worked on two albums since last year and I haven’t performed live since last year either, so make of that what you will?”

Was there any truth to the rumour of a Shy appearance at Firefest this year?

“It was hoped, yes, it would be wonderful, but we are still waiting for guitarist Steve Harris to recover from his illness. When he does, we can re-visit the live situation for the band. Hopefully he will be well soon, he’s in all our prayers.”

Were you happy to see the back of your "Excess All Areas" fluffy hair do?

“It was probably just a sign of the times? We are talking about 23 years ago, here! I’m sure everyone’s lives have changed since then.”

Is it true that "Brave The Storm" was denied a UK chart position because you hadn't cleared the t-shirt free gift with the chart people?

“Yes. The record company didn’t clear the authority for giveaways with the Gallup Poll, so it came across as effectively another reason for people to buy the album and consequently an unfair advantage over other artists…. The chart position was handicapped.”

Who are your influences and heroes?

“David Bowie, Rob Halford, Geoff Tate, Floyd, Luciano Pavarotti, Rush… Many great artists.”

What 3 words describe you best?

“Christian, creative, determined."

What has been your most embarrassing tour moment?

Not knowing the words to “Johnny B Good” when I got up to sing with Meatloaf at Wembley!”

We know that every town is "The best EVER", but what town is really the best for you?

“Los Angeles!! I worked there several times and it is a beautiful place!””

What's the worst shithole you've ever played and why?

“‘Oddie’s’ in Oldham… (which was consequently demolished). The sinks were full of sick and after the guy had cleaned them out by hand, he made us sandwiches. It turned out to be a punk night as well, which didn’t exactly make it a successful evening!”

What's your favourite pre 1990 album?

“In the rock genre per se…, it would be Judas Priest’s “Sad Wings Of Destiny”.”

You are in a balloon with Axl Rose, Gene Simmons, Sebastian Bach and Simon Cowell - who would you throw out as ballast and why?

“Probaby Axl Rose? I couldn’t stand all that whining!”

What is your guilty secret?

“I don’t have one…. (Says he, blushing)!”

Who do you think is the most overrated band/solo artist ever and why?

“Specifically, I couldn’t say, but Black Metal and Rap share the same unnecessary amount of publicity for unintelligible and inaudible excuses for music. If they are truly musicians and credible writers, why don’t they write and record something that we can understand? Are they from another planet?”

How do you feel about gigs being filmed and put onto the net by fans?

“Why would I care about that? Why should an artist complain about exposure when he puts himself in the limelight in the first place? Good luck to ‘em…, that’s what I say.”

Who is the sexiest person in Rock?

“I honestly have no idea whatsoever!”

What's the best thing about being a musician?

“Hearing a new song finished in the studio!”

What's the worst thing about being a musician?

“Airport terminals.”

What song do you identify with the most?

“Animus” from Siam’s “Prayer” album. Great song!”

What song do you want played at your funeral?

“Somebody Up There Likes Me” from David Bowie’s “Young Americans” album.”

What is the best TV theme tune ever?

“I wouldn’t know, I hardly ever watch TV.”

interview by Alan Holloway
Photos courtesy of State Of Rock and Tony Mills MySpace
30 March 2010
(c) 2010 RockUnited.Com