Nick Workman is a lucky man. Not only has he got one of the finest voices in melodic rock, but he’s basking in the glow of positive reviews for the latest Vega album ‘Stereo Messiah’. It’s the band’s third, with each taking a small step in the right direction over it’s predecessor, and it’s fair to say that the band’s sound is built around Workman’s always impressive vocal range that sits somewhere between Joe Elliot and Tony Mills.
It’s always good to know that people like what you’ve done, so I take it you and the boys are happy with the new album.
100%. We would not have recorded the album unless we were happy with it. It’s our best album yet in our opinion.
You’re now in the Frontiers family, with plenty of first class label mates. What made you move to them for your 3rd album?
With “What the Hell” we decided to take a gamble and it didn’t pay off. Simple as that. It was very frustrating when 2 labels belonging to Universal could not even agree on simple things such as the price that the cd’s were sold to the different territories for.
There’s plenty of the usual big hooks on ‘Stereo Messiah’, but you’ve also included a cover of Def Leppard’s ‘10x Bigger Than Love’, a bonus track from the ‘X’ era – what made you choose that particular track?
I came across the song on youtube and emailed Joe about it. He emailed me back and gave me the details and then suggested that we cover it. Well, we weren’t going to turn that offer down. I was actually on the way to York to see the guys so it was an awesome weekend!!
Joe Elliot recorded new backing vocals for the track – how did that come about?
He sings the lead on the chorus. It was always the plan to ask him should we do a good job on the song. I ask Joe if he could send his originals vocals for us to use and he just said “why don’t I record you a new one”. Annnnnnnd we had another awesome weekend haha.
Vega are supporting Joe’s Down n Outz in the UK in December this year – did that come from working from him on the album or did you already have it arranged?
I emailed Joe about the dates but he was on tour with KISS. He put me in touch with who I needed to speak to. There were already peoples name in the hat but in the end the decision rested with Joe annnnnnnnd we had an awesome weekend!! haha
The track itself really stands out on the album as it has a different rhythm to the normal Vega fare – were you worried that a cover track would stick in people’s minds more than the self penned ones?
Not at all. A good song is a good song. We like to mix it up. If you check out the Leppard version we have definitely Vegaized it.
My personal favourite (which will change, I’m sure) is ‘Ballad Of The Broken Hearted’ – do you have one?
I think if I had to choose it would be that track and “All Or Nothing”.
How many tracks will you be putting in the live shows, and have you decided which ones yet?
We will probably be doing 7 or 8 new songs and the best of the rest. It’s a great set list. For the Down n Outz tour it’s a little different. 90% of the fans at the gigs won’t have heard of VEGA so we will more than likely play 90% new songs for our set.
The only track that doesn’t convince for me is the closing ballad ‘Tears Never Dry’. Do you think there’s pressure to put a ballad on somewhere, as it’s a rare AOR album that doesn’t have one?
It’s a song we wrote before Kiss of Life was released. We wouldn’t put anything on the album we didn’t want to. For us it’s a very emotional and massive song. So much hard work went in to it and there is a lot going on. We don’t expect to please everyone though, so it’s fine. Some people love that track, some people will not be so keen. It just helps know who our friends are….haha…joke!!
The dictionary definition of ‘Workmanlike’ is ‘showing efficient competence but not inspiration’. How would you define ‘Nickworkmanlike’?
“Showing efficient competence AND inspiration”. '
The Vega ‘sound’ is very much in evidence throughout. Do you ever worry that you need more variety in the songs?
I think we have a lot of variety. We aren’t going to re-write the same song over and over. Queen always sounded like Queen but were able to something different.
I meant more that this album is more full of smooth, flowing tracks, whereas ‘What The Hell’ had a few with a more staccato type beat.
Ah, got ya. We just write what comes naturally so that just didn't happen this time around.
Do you get many people still banging on about your work with Kick?
A fair few but that’s cool. The biggest fans of KICK that I know are Tom and James! They always talk about the first album.
I know that you write the lyrics and the vocal melodies for Vega, but the focus for writing seems to go elsewhere in the press…
Yeah, the twins get all the glory lol
You all got tattoos when the ‘What The Hell’ album was made – do you all have a ‘Stereo Messiah’ one now?
Not yet…….But there are a few days off on the DNO tour!!!
As James (or is it Tom, I always forget!) is married to Issa, it seems odd that she isn’t in the line up for your forthcoming tour in November. As she’s there anyway, why not show her off?
We talked about it but her new album isn’t out until February so the timing wasn’t right.
So are your fingers crossed for a Def Lep support in the future (now that you and Joe are besties)?
Ha.That’s a VERY different ball game. They will tour with a couple of acts that are big names. Not little ol’ VEGA. I will gladly watch from the front.
Finally, how would you sum up the experience of being in Vega after three albums?
All good. We have been through shot but we keep each other going. Because we are an actual band and best mates it makes it easier. When it’s your band you are passionate about it. If we were just another project in it for a pay out then we wouldn’t have gone pass Album 1.
Interview by: Alan Holloway