Hello Jimi! How are you? Where are you right now and what are you doing?
Hey Wim cheers for the interview, honoured to be asked by The Lords of Metal Magazine. I’m very well thanks. I’m currently in my little music studio at the back of my house in York. Writing some new tunes for a follow up to ‘Longtime Comin’ if everything goes well with the new album.
I think you are a well-known in your home country (Scotland) but I think not a lot of people in Europe already know you. Can you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit more about your (musical) background?
I’m not overly well known even in Scotland but am probably better known than I give myself credit for. I started singing as a child around six years old going for singing lessons up until my late teens. I have a broad taste in music usually based around great singers/vocalists and songwriters I discovered rock music listening to Dio, Coverdale, Paul Rodgers, etc etc around this time and the die was cast. I also play keyboards so began writing songs around the age of fourteen when I formed my first band Sahara with various different band members. I also started performing in clubs constantly trying to improve my stage persona. I kept the and name Sahara with me and eventually we were signed by Wet Wet Wet manager Elliot Davis in Glasgow in 1987 and changed the band name to The Hardline. We were with the management until 1992 doing various tours of Scotland. The highlight was when we supported Wet Wet Wet at Glasgow Green in 1989 to 30,000 people. I have continued writing and performing since with performances in Cyprus, Holland, Germany, Tenerife, Romania, Rhodes, Turkey, Spain etc. Music is a huge part of my life and performing runs through my veins. I’m loving it more than ever now so hopefully there is time for some new adventures ahead.
Until now, do you focus on a music career in Britain or are you a busy man in Europe or US as well? And if so, what are the projects you are busy with?
Until 2005 I think rock music had gone into hiding, as did I to tell the truth. The upsurgance of the tribute scene has been very instrumental in rock music becoming popular again to the point that many of the original bands have reformed or original members have formed their own tribute band.
From 2009 to 2013 I performed as lead singer with tribute band ‘A Foreigners Journey’ tribute to… you guessed it – Foreigner & Journey. In doing so I built up a following throughout England and Scotland and Wales and talking to the fans saw the potential outlet for selling my original music. Now with the release of ‘Longtime Comin’ worldwide who knows what lies ahead maybe I’ll have that little bit of luck you need and good things will happen. I’m happy to play anywhere and try to open some doors and see what happens. Positive thoughts.
Congratulations with the release of your solo debut album, ‘Longtime Comin’. That must be a dream come true?! Not only the release of a solo album, but seeing ‘Jimi Anderson Group’ on the front of the album! Are you completely satisfied with the result?
Thank You. Yes I’ve been writing songs and recording demos for a very long time (hence the album title). So to have my music properly released to a much wider audience is thrilling. It opens up the possibilities to find many new fans but also the opportunity to find many new critics both of which I welcome with open arms. When you record your music with a great producer like Sandy Jones, who works very much ‘In the moment,’ and follows the vibe and energy you create at the time, the results are always surprising. I’m happy to say for the better, in fact the songs on the album that I gave Sandy more of a free reign on ‘Best For Me’ in particular sounds nothing like my demo and remains one of my favourite tracks on the album. The tracks from the later sessions for the album have a much funkier feel which form the first four tracks and a great energy which is why I chose them to start the CD and I still feel that. The CD is getting wonderful reviews and I’m finding people are favouring many different tracks but the ballads in particular are being acknowledged which is a great tradition within AOR so that pleases me very much.
I really like your album; this is AOR how it is supposed to sound. Great vocals, great songs. Do you get airplay in Scotland?
I actually live in York, England but the JAG ‘Live’ band all live in Glasgow Scotland so we are concentrating the launch of ‘Longtime Comin’ there. There are not many Rock Radio Stations in Scotland so unfortunately no airplay in Scotland. When I was growing up one of the only places you could hear new music was local radio. For rock music fans we all listened to Radio 1, Tommy Vance on a Friday Night 10pm – Midnight. This was followed immediately in Scotland by Tom Russell’s Rock Show on Radio Clyde Midnight – 2am. Tom is Part of ‘Rock Radio’ team who have been granted a license to broadcast to a bigger audience and will be up and running this year so hopefully Scottish Rock Music fans will have their own radio station back on air this year.
You got great assistance from Sandy Jones and Graeme Duffin; can you tell us a bit more about them? Those two guys really know how to play their instruments, right?!
Well Greame Duffin is the guitarist with Scottish pop superstars Wet Wet Wet as well as being an accomplished jazz guitarist who can turn his hand to any style of music, Sandy Jones and I were both in different bands under the same manager as The Wets (Elliot Davis Precious Organisation) at the same time in the late 80’s Early 90’s. Sandy was the guitarist in a band called Worldwide. My band was called The Hardline before Neil Schon stole the name hahaha. Sandy went on to sound engineering and has a Gold Disc for his participation in the Wets record breaking single ‘Love Is All Around’ as well as being Scottish record producer of 2013. Sandy and Greame set up their successful ‘Foundry Music Lab’ recording studio and teaching complex together in Motherwell near Glasgow in Scotland in the early 2000s and between the three of us this offered me an affordable way to finally make the album. I always wanted to with talented people who were also very sympathetic to my music ending in the great result that is ‘Longtime Comin’.
I really like the last song on the album, ‘Oh Why’. Can you tell how that song came about?
Bizarrely enough ‘Oh Why’ is a track recorded by my band The Hardline in 1989 but we couldn’t match the vibe of this original to re-record it so ended up using the original recording after a bit of remastering. Bizarrely the engineer of this recording, Ted Blakeway, is also a partner in ‘The Foundry Music Lab’. The song came about from a bass riff and keyboard riff between myself and bass player Peter Dorman who is a co-writer on this track. It has been likened to being Foreigner-esque which is a great compliment. Ironically the drummer on the recording is still my drummer in my live band now Mr Todd Macleod.
People say that AOR is almost dead and gone. What are your thoughts about that? Is there a melodic rock scene in Scotland? Is it hard for you to find venues where you can perform?
I think most ‘Styles’ of music are dead and gone because we don’t have a chart anymore, so there are NO trends to follow, only people like Simon Cowell etc. who flood the market with their two minute wonder flavours of the month. The death of the secure recorded format i.e. ‘The Recordable CD’ killed the music industry and now the only way for bands to make money is to tour and play live. So that makes getting gigs difficult because only ‘Name Bands’ have the pulling power to tour abroad and sell merchandise. There is a very healthy music scene in Glasgow, as there is in most big cities these days for the same reasons I mention above but that makes for a saturated market where the fans only have so much money to spend and therefore can only see limited bands each month/year. There are lots of venues to play but that only dissipates the audience numbers and make putting on a show a bigger risk but that is all part of the fun of being a musician and playing for your fans. I think rock music fans are amongst the most loyal in the world and if you are good they will give you a chance. People of my age have their freedom back as their children have grown up and they want to get back out and have some fun again so maybe now is a great time to be bringing out an album.
Do you have plans to promote the album with a club tour in Europe as well?
I would love to tour Europe I have played in Holland, Spain, Tenerife, Turkey, Cyprus, Romania, Rhodes over the years so if anyone wants to make me an offer get in touch!!
Guess that pretty much covers it, unless of course, if there is something you would still like to get out there?
Absolutely. Well I would love to hear some feedback from your readers about their thoughts on my album ‘Longtime Comin’. I would be very interested in their opinion if they would be interested in The Jimi Anderson Group Performing in Holland.